Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau wouldn’t identify his starting goaltender for Game 1 of his team’s second-round playoff series against the Kings on Saturday night at the Honda Center, but all signs pointed to Jonas Hiller getting the assignment.
“I don’t know why it’s such a big deal,” Boudreau said after the Ducks held an optional morning skate.
“One of the two are playing. We’ll have six guys on the ice most of the night.”
Or so they hope.
Hiller saved the day for the Ducks in the sixth game of their first-round series against the Stars. He came on in relief of rookie Frederik Andersen and stopped all 12 shots he faced, good enough to get the win when the Ducks rallied late and clinched the series with a 5-4 overtime victory Sunday. He was 1-0-1 against the Kings in two games during the regular season, with a 0.96 goals-against average, .977 save percentage and one shutout. Andersen was 3-0-0 against the Kings in three regular-season games, with a 1.62 goals-against average and .949 save percentage. The Kings were 0-4-1 against the Ducks in their season series.
If Hiller starts in the opener against the Kings, it will be his first start since April 6 at Edmonton. “Both goalies have been practicing extremely well and they’re working hard,” Boudreau said.
Boudreau explained his reluctance to name his starter as a competitive tactic.
“You know what, if it makes L.A. work a little harder to figure out on their scouting report, who they’re going to go against, that’s five minutes extra. Let’s make them work a little harder. ... Any little extra that we can make them do is better for us.”
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said it didn’t matter to his team who the Ducks start and that the Kings will be ready for whatever happens.
“I think we’re well prepared for both goalies. We know both of them well [from] the five games this year,” Sutter said during a media gathering at the Kings’ hotel. “Obviously we’re very familiar with Hiller. Everybody is over the years, not just this group. You’ve got hundreds of hours of video. You can
watch as much on them, you can be as well prepared as we can.”