Anaheim head coach Bruce Boudreau was facing a big decision in goal for his club’s opening-round series.
On Tuesday, it looked like he made it.
Jonas Hiller was the first goalie off the ice from pregame skate and appears to be the Ducks’ starter against Detroit tonight, according to ESPN’s Craig Custance.
The decision means Hiller will make his first playoff appearance since 2009 and Viktor Fasth will be relegated to a backup role.
Hiller and Fasth — the 30-year-old Swedish rookie — have essentially split time this season:
Hiller: 26 games played, 15-6-4, 2.36 GAA, .913 save percentage, 1 shutout
Fasth: 25 games played, 15-6-2, 2.18 GAA, .921 save percentage, 4 shutouts
But just because Boudreau’s gone with the Swiss ‘tender over the Swede, doesn’t mean we won’t see both during this series.
If the coach’s history is any indication, a flip-flop in goal is very possible.
“I’ve had two guys,” Boudreau told the LA Times. “Like in Washington, we had [Michal] Neuvirth and [Semyon] Varlamov when they were rookies and they both played the same equal amount. You didn’t know who you were going to start.
“The first year we had [Olaf] Kolzig and Cristobal Huet, very similar situation, and then we had [Jose] Theodore and Varlamov where I did switch and go to the first-year player after two games. Unfortunately, the teams I’ve coached, or fortunately, have had two good goalies and no real clear-cut [No. 1].”
It’s likely that Hiller’s postseason experience got him the nod over Fasth, though it should be noted he missed all of Anaheim’s last playoff appearance — a six-game defeat to Nashville in 2011 — while dealing with vertigo.