With grand postseason plans, the Ducks are expected to put a rookie in goal tonight when the Stanley Cup playoffs begin against the Dallas Stars at Honda Center.
Rookie Frederik Andersen, who was 20-5 during a season he capped with a shootout win over the Kings at Staples Center on Saturday, was first off the ice at Wednesday’s morning skate.
Andersen beats out the Ducks’ primary regular-season starter, Jonas Hiller, who slumped late, finishing with three consecutive losses, and rookie John Gibson, who was 3-0 last week with a shutout in his NHL debut.
“First playoff game, going to be a ton of fun,” said Andersen, 24, who won his final four starts. “You hope to continue that.”
Andersen said his first playoff start in Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals has been a natural progression in a season that began fittingly with 24 saves in relief of Hiller Oct. 20 against the Stars in a game the Ducks rallied to win 6-3.
“They’re a fast team, good, skilled first line,” Andersen said. “This is a new game, a new series.”
Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said his decision was based on the opinion that “right now, Andersen gives us the best chance to win. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s starting Game 2. He’s starting Game 1.”
Boudreau has praised Andersen for his ability to shut teams off at the moments he most has to, and for playing well in big games such as twice in St. Louis.
“We feel very comfortable with him in net,” Boudreau said without identifying tonight’s backup.
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