Every good goaltender takes every goal scored against him as a personal insult. The best goalies learn to quickly forget the ones that got away, knowing they can't waste energy brooding over events they can't change.
Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen let more than a few get away from him in the last two games of the Western Conference finals — five of 40 shots in a double-overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 and four of 28 in the 5-4 overtime victory Monday that put the Ducks within one win of a berth in the Stanley Cup Final.
He has hit career highs of 3,106 minutes in the regular season and 934 minutes in the playoffs while starting 16 straight games, and it's reasonable to wonder if he's showing physical or mental fatigue from a long season and this powerfully intense playoff series.
The 25-year-old Dane said he's not tired. Nor is he dwelling on the goals he gave up in Game 5 because what's to come is more important than what has already happened, good or bad.
"For me it's all about the next shot and it's about the next game right now. So what happened last night, all that matters is we got the win," he said Tuesday before the Ducks departed for Chicago and Game 6, to be played Wednesday at the United Center.
"I think I've always been good at bouncing back and I think tomorrow is going to be a great opportunity again. It's all about winning that one game and going to the Finals and that's all my focus is right now."
Through the first three games of the West finals, Andersen's postseason goals-against average was 1.75 and his save percentage was .935. Those changed to 1.92 and .929 after Game 4 and to 2.06 and .925 through Game 5.
That's still better than Chicago goalie Corey Crawford, whose goals-against average has risen from 2.29 to 2.36 to 2.57 after the last two games, as his save percentage has sunk from .925 to .924 to .917. Both teams have had defensive breakdowns and committed costly turnovers, perhaps because of fatigue or because they're so closely matched and can capitalize on each other's smallest misstep.
And with the indomitable will of Chicago center Jonathan Toews — who almost single-handedly took Game 4 to overtime with two goals in the last two minutes of the third period — and the skills of winger Patrick Kane and emerging star Teuvo Teravainen matched against the size, speed and scoring ability of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and the Ducks' mobile, productive defense, high-scoring games were all but certain.
"I think there's things we can clean up, but they're here for a reason too. They're a great hockey team," Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said. "You have to expect them to get their chances, as well."
For the Ducks, Andersen's numbers are less important than his composure and the confidence he gives them.
"When Freddie's at his best he seems to have this calmness about him," Fowler said. "He goes about his business. But the main thing that you get from him being back there is a sense of security. He seems to always be dialed in.
"I don't see any fatigue, really. There's going to be bounces that happen throughout a playoff series, there's going to be things that you don't want to happen, there's going to be mistakes that are made. That's us as a team. We go through those things as a team. It's not an individual thing. ... Freddie's our rock back there. He's a huge reason why we're here and why we're in this position."
Coach Bruce Boudreau acknowledged that of Chicago's goals in Game 5, "There's some that he'd like to have back, I think." But he, too, expressed trust in Andersen.
"Nobody's perfect," Boudreau said. "Freddie's really good. He's not perfect. None of our players are perfect. They make mistakes. We have the faith and confidence in him that he's going to be great again [Wednesday]."
It's significant that Boudreau, known for switching goalies in midstream in past playoffs, repeated his support for Andersen. "We're not changing anything. We're going with Freddie. He's our guy," Boudreau said.
Andersen wants to repay that faith. "I know how good I can be and I've showed that. Maybe last game wasn't my best but that stuff happens to any goalie," Andersen said. "It's about what you do next that matters."
What he does will go a long way toward determining if the Ducks seize this chance to advance or let it get away, like those goals in Games 4 and 5.