While mystery surrounded the Ducks’ choice of starting goaltender for their playoff game against the Kings on Saturday night -- indications were that it will be Jonas Hiller, because injured Frederik Andersen didn’t skate Saturday morning and choosing rookie John Gibson seems too big a gamble -- the Kings went about their morning-skate business as usual with no apparent lineup changes.
Defensemen Willie Mitchell and Robyn Regehr remain sidelined by undisclosed injuries, with no timetable mentioned for their possible return. Mitchell was injured in Game 6 of the Kings’ first-round series against San Jose, and Regehr was hurt in the first game against the Ducks.
The Ducks’ 3-2 victory on Thursday cut the Kings’ series lead to two games to one and continued the pattern of the road team winning each game. Andersen started Thursday but couldn’t finish after he sustained a lower-body injury midway through the third period. Hiller got the win in relief.
The Ducks on Saturday recalled top goaltending prospect John Gibson from their Norfolk (Va.) farm team, and he was on the ice Saturday morning at Staples Center along with Hiller and Igor Bobkov. Hiller was the first goalie off the ice, usually an indication that he will start, though that wasn’t the case Thursday.
Kings players said it made no difference which goalie started for the Ducks in Game 4.
“Not really. More so I think against San Jose because [Antti] Niemi was the No. 1 all year, whereas these two guys have split all year,” Kings captain Dustin Brown said, referring to the Sharks having started both Niemi and Alex Stalock against the Kings in the first round.
“So it’s no different for them, and we’ve seen both goalies.”
Defenseman Drew Doughty said the Kings’ approach will remain the same no matter who’s in goal for the Ducks.
“They’re pretty similar goalies, though obviously one catches left and one catches right,” he said, referring to the left-handed-catching Andersen and righty Hiller. “And one is a little better at puckhandling. That was really the only differences.
“It doesn’t affect us at all. We just need to get to the goalie early, get a few goals on him quick. We haven’t got to their goalies in any of the games. Yeah, we’ve won a few games but we haven’t got as many shots as we’d like to get. We haven’t got the second opportunities. We haven’t got in front of them and got screens. So we have a lot bigger job to do on their goalies, and we’re going to start tonight.”
Doughty said he didn’t think the Ducks would start Gibson and that he expected to face Hiller.
“He did a pretty good job when he came in last game, in the third, after not playing for 50 minutes,” Doughty said. “I don’t see Gibson coming in, but hopefully we can push Hiller out and make Gibson come in late. That would be good.”
Game 5 is scheduled for 7 p.m. PDT Monday at Honda Center.