It was a remarkable moment in Edmonton last night as Oilers fans cheered Craig Anderson, the Ottawa Senators net minder, after he shut out the team on home ice. It's not often a visiting goalie is celebrated for holding the home team back from scoring a single goal, but this was no regular night. And for Craig Anderson, this wasn't a normal game.
On Thursday last week, Anderson took a leave of absence from the Sens to be with his wife, Nicholle. She had been diagnosed with cancer. Without a thought, Anderson did what any good husband would do and put work to the side to be with her during the difficult time. But within days, at the request of Nicholle, Anderson was back on the road and starting for Ottawa against the Edmonton Oilers - a team that was 7-1 going into Sunday's game.
After 3 periods and 37 shots, Anderson led the charge to add another loss on Edmonton's record, earning his 35th career shut out in the process.
Given his flawless performance, Anderson earned the game's First Star and, as he made the customary thank you skate, was met with respectful applause from the Oilers fans who hung around to show their support.
"He made a big effort in coming here at the urging of his wife," Senators captain Erik Karlsson said in his post-game interview. "We all knew what it meant. He came here and inspired us and led the team the whole way. You could feel the tension and emotion of this game. It was special to be a part of."