It’s the playoffs, so the fact Bruce Boudreau didn’t telegraph his starting goalie for Friday night’s game between his Ducks and the Stars isn’t surprising. Nor is the fact there’s a goalie controversy brewing in Anaheim.
Boudreau took a risk starting Frederik Andersen over Jonas Hiller and rookie John Gibson to open up this series, despite Andersen's superior stats, since he was the Anaheim netminder who has played under the least amount of pressure. Now, that decision is in question.
“Pressure is a very funny thing and Hiller has been on the stage and actually so has Gibson, way more than Andersen,” said one NHL goalie coach in evaluating Anaheim’s options before the playoffs.
In this coach’s eyes, there was the potential to lose Hiller if he wasn’t given the job from the outset.
“If you start Andersen and he fails and you call Hiller and say, 'OK, it’s your turn, it’s yours to take,' he looks at you and goes [forget] you,” he said. “There’s a piece of him that isn’t engaged no matter how great a team guy they are.”
That’s the scenario that’s playing out with the Ducks as the series shifts back to Anaheim. Andersen is 2-2 with an .898 save percentage, while Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen has settled down and given the Stars the goaltending edge through the first four games of this series with a .921 save percentage. If that trend continues, an upset is in the works out West.