Sports Now

Ducks' playoff goalie choice: Either Frederik Andersen or John Gibson

Ducks goalies Frederik Andersen, John Gibson will each see plenty of playing time before end of regular season

With the Ducks poised to clinch a third straight Pacific Division title Wednesday night, they’ll start the goalie who’s carried them to the bulk of their victories this season.

Frederik Andersen (33-11-5 in net this season) left the ice first at Wednesday’s morning skate at Honda Center before Anaheim’s 7 p.m. game against the sixth-place Edmonton Oilers (23-40-13).

The nod to Andersen comes a game after John Gibson won his 13th game, stopping 26 of 27 shots Sunday in a 2-1 victory at New Jersey.

Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau employed a plan to balance the goalies’ work before the conclusion of the regular season on April 11.

As each have produced sharp recent efforts – Andersen stopped 56 of 60 shots to win at Boston and at the New York Islanders last week – their playoff playing time assignments are unknown but a source of comfort to the coach.

“It’s become evident that both of them want to play in the playoffs,” Boudreau said. “It’s evident to me that in a seven-game series if one is struggling, I have no qualms about putting the other guy in.”

ONE POINT AWAY: A victory or overtime/shootout loss will give Anaheim (49-22-7) the Pacific Division title Wednesday night.

Players agreed that’s nice, but more is wanted.

After each of the last two division titles were won, playoff eliminations that followed in the first and second round meant those banners were raised in an empty arena, with no fanfare.

“It shows the type of players, the management and the team we have – shows it’s a high-end organization we have here,” Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said of a third consecutive division title.

“Saying that, yes, it’s a big accomplishment guys will be happy about, but we all know until you do the right things in the playoffs and go far, you don’t talk about things too much.

“But it’s a good start.”

By clinching the division, the Ducks would assure home-ice advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs, with a first-round date against a wild-card entrant. As of Wednesday morning, the wild cards are Minnesota and Winnipeg.

Said Boudreau: “In baseball, they’d be having a champagne party here, but this isn’t baseball. It’s another step to solidifying where we want to be.”

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
84°