Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau confirmed the speculation today — rookie Frederik Andersen will start in goal for the Ducks tonight when they kick off their first-round series with Dallas.
Andersen gets the nod over struggling veteran Jonas Hiller and fellow rookie John Gibson.
“I just think, right now, Andersen’s played the best,” Boudreau said, per NHL.com. “He gives us the best chance to win, so he’ll be the one starting. It doesn’t mean he’ll be starting Game 2, but he’s starting Game 1.”
Andersen went 20-5-0 with a .923 save percentage during the regular season. After earning the top seed in the West, the Ducks will be hoping the 24-year-old Dane can join the relatively short list of inexperienced netminders who’ve enjoyed playoff success. (Names like Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy, Cam Ward, Antti Niemi, and Ron Hextall come to mind.)
“We’ve played him in an awful lot of tough towns,” Boudreau said. “We played him twice in St. Louis, twice in San Jose. He’s played twice in L.A. The teams in the Western Conference that have been tough places to play … we feel very comfortable with him in net.”