Capitals goaltender Craig Anderson entered Game 1 on Saturday night under a tough set of circumstances, but ultimately did enough to hold off the Boston Bruins as Washington earned a 3-2 overtime victory in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Anderson, who will be 40 years old next week, entered just 13 minutes into the contest after Vitek Vanecek left the game with an injury.
Anderson had played just four times (two starts) this season. He had played one game in the last month and just twice since Feb. 22. It was his first playoff win since Game 6 of the 2017 Conference Finals, per NHL PR.
Tuukka Rask was asked just how tough a spot that would be for a goaltender, and shared some insight.
“It’s never easy no matter who you are, but I think he’s a veteran guy, he’s been around a long time so it probably makes it a little bit easier in that case,” Rask said on a postgame video conference. “But still, you haven’t seen that many games during the year and obviously game action is the one that matters. So never easy, but he was good today.”
Anderson certainly doesn’t lack experience. He’s in the 18th year of his career having started 566 regular-season games with a 291-252 record.
His Capitals teammates, to no surprise, praised Anderson after the game.
“He’s a great goaltender. He’s obviously got a lot of experience,” T.J. Oshie told reporters, per Ian Oland.
Washington’s Nic Dowd, who scored the game-winner, added: “He was so calm and poised.”
Bruins bench boss Bruce Cassidy expressed frustration with the Boston offense, lamenting an inability to attack Anderson and the Capitals well enough or present enough of a challenge. Still, though, Anderson made the most of his chance.
“At the end of the day, we are here in this moment and this is what we play for. It is a great opportunity,” Anderson told reporters after the win, per The Washington Post.
Game 2 between Bruins-Capitals is scheduled for Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET, which you can watch on NESN.