The crowd roared around him and the
That's exactly what the
They knew he was quiet by nature. After his 32-save performance Wednesday in their 4-3 victory, they also know he's immune to the jitters playoff hockey can trigger.
"He's so calm," teammate
Andersen said he felt no pressure during his
"You can't let nerves get to you because you're screwed when you do that," he said firmly.
Denmark's lone contribution to the NHL goaltending ranks wasn't rattled when the Stars pressured him and outshot the Ducks in the first period, 14-10. He showed no weakness when the score was close, before the Ducks built a 4-0 lead in the second period with their first multiple-power-play goal performance since Jan. 15.
"I felt pretty good. Early on I had some good saves in the first and I felt good right away," Andersen said. "I thought we had a good start too, but I think we let up a little bit in the third, after the fourth goal.
"I think this is a good lesson for us and that way we can prevent it from happening again."
Dallas got to him at 16:36 of the second period, on
"That's what happens when you come down 4-0 and the coach probably told them a little bit how they were playing, and we let up a little bit," he said. "But I think this is a good lesson. We've got to keep playing with the lead. Good thing we won, anyway."
The Ducks nearly gave Andersen some breathing room, but
Andersen's ability to remain cool, calm and collected were key factors in his development this season and his climb above
Hiller lost his rhythm at the worst possible time, when the Ducks were battling for the top spot in the West. Andersen and 20-year-old rookie John Gibson stepped in and stepped up until Andersen came out on the wrong end of a collision with muscular Nashville defenseman
That left Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau with the kind of decision that can get coaches fired or win them contract extensions.
He couldn't open the playoffs with Hiller, whose loss of confidence is clear. He would have been taking too big a gamble if he chose Gibson, a 20-year-old kid with three games' NHL experience, as fine as Gibson's performances were.
Andersen put himself on top of the heap last Saturday, when he was perfect in four shootout rounds against the
That all can change, but it was the right combination Wednesday to launch the Ducks on what they hope will be a long playoff road.