SUN Hockey Pool

Fast start no shock

RANDY SPORTAK

, Last Updated: 5:23 AM ET

Jay Bouwmeester has seen this act from Craig Anderson before.

The hot start by the Colorado Avalanche netminder has possibly caught plenty of people off-guard, but not Bouwmeester.

The Flames defenceman was with the Florida Panthers when Anderson stopped 53 shots in a 1-0 win over the New York Islanders March 2, 2008, the most saves made in a shutout since shots on goal was recorded in the mid-1950s.

Anderson followed up that performance with a 40-save outing in Boston a couple of nights later -- which also was a 1-0 game.

"It's almost like the more work he gets, his confidence grows," Bouwmeester said of his former teammate. "In some of their wins, he's made a lot of saves, so right now his confidence has to be going pretty good.

"I'm happy for him."

Bouwmeester isn't so happy for Anderson that he'll feel bad about ruining the Colorado netminder's amazing early season run.

Anderson has been the key to Colorado's 8-1-2 start to the season. He's played every minute and cobbled together a 2.14 goals-against average, .936 save percentage and one shutout.

The Avalanche play tonight in Edmonton before coming to Calgary for tomorrow night's Northwest Division battle, so he may not dress in the Stampede City, but a couple of his former teammates have been following his exploits and would like to see him up-close.

"He's been playing awesome," said Rene Bourque, who played with Anderson both in the minors and in Chicago. "He's a good goalie, very under-rated. He never had a chance to start anywhere, and last year in Florida he had a good streak for a while, but they ended up going back to (Tomas) Vokoun."

Anderson, however, parlayed a strong third season in Florida into the chance he wanted.

The netminder originally drafted by the Flames in 1999 -- he didn't come to terms and was re-drafted by Chicago -- was given a chance to be the No.-1 guy in Colorado and caught fire.

"Last year, there were stretches where he came in and really carried us," Bouwmeester said. "I always thought he was a good goalie. I know talking to him the last couple of years, he was looking for an opportunity to try being a No.-1 guy. He's proven so far he can handle it.

"There were a lot of people down there who felt if he got the opportunity he could probably run with it. There were stretches last year where he did."

At least the Flames have a couple of guys who can give them scouting reports if they face Anderson.

"It's been a long time since I played with him," said Bourque, who spent two seasons with Anderson. "He doesn't really have a glaring weak spot. He's very quick down low, like a lot of goalies, so we may have to go up high on him and have a lot of traffic for second the third chances."

The game could be an interesting study with one of the highest scoring squads against one of the hottest goalies.

"We've played some good goalies -- (Roberto) Luongo, (Nikolai) Khabibulin -- so I don't think it enters your mind who's in the net," Bouwmeester said. " You get a chance, you want to put it in the net, no matter who's in there."


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