Whether Frederik Andersen will start a fourth consecutive game as the Ducks' goalie Friday versus the Nashville Predators is something Coach Bruce Boudreau kept to himself Thursday.
But when asked whether Andersen belongs in the conversation about NHL rookie of the year, Boudreau was far more forthcoming.
"I would love just to hear his name mentioned," Boudreau said of the 6-foot-4, 230-pound backup, who won all three of those starts for the Pacific-Division leaders while Jonas Hiller rested. "There's a lot of good rookies. You can only name three."
The ones that jumped to Boudreau's mind are Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon (23 goals, 35 assists) and Ondrej Palat (34 assists), Tampa Bay's Tyler Johnson (23 goals), and Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm.
"But to say Martin Jones over Freddie," Boudreau said of the Kings rookie goalie. " … Freddie has proved he's one of the top young goaltenders in the league."
While Jones was mentioned as a top rookie by NHL Network with an 11-5 record, Andersen is 19-5 with a 2.27 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage that is better than Hiller's.
"Coaches look for consistency in a goaltender. Freddie's given it to us," Boudreau said.
The coach said he wants Hiller rested and at his best when the playoffs begin in less than two weeks, so he went to Andersen again after wins over Vancouver and Winnipeg. The Denmark product made 30 saves in the 3-2 triumph over Edmonton.
Andersen, 24, says the chance "to get in a rhythm and be able to contribute has been awesome.
"You focus on one at a time, and you know every save could be a game-changer … it's been proved the last two games," he said of the Ducks' comeback victories.
"They'll take care of the rest. It's your winning instinct, the mentality, the pride that you don't want to lose or quit."
Andersen said he realizes MacKinnon might have the Calder Trophy for top rookie wrapped up, but to anyone that's mentioning the Ducks goalie, "Thanks for thinking that," he said.
Getting in line
Boudreau said earlier in the season he wanted to solidify his offensive lines and defensive pairs as the playoffs neared, but the team's depth hasn't forced that move.
Wednesday, he started Nick Bonino on the first line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, and later inserted Matt Beleskey. Rookie Rickard Rakell is playing well as fourth-line center, too.
When Cam Fowler returns from a knee injury and Mark Fistric from a lower body nerve injury, Boudreau will have nine defensemen for six spots.
"When things aren't working right, find somebody who is working and insert them in that position," Boudreau said. "The last two games, we've moved lines around and those things have done well."
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Etc.: The Predators have shrunk out of playoff position since the Ducks beat them twice earlier this year in Nashville. Defenseman Shea Weber leads the Predators with 21 goals.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times