The Anaheim Ducks had the best record in the Western Conference, but they entered the first round with one glaring issue. Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller struggled late in the season and it snowballed to the point where his confidence took a hit.
It was enough of a concern that Anaheim ended up starting 24-year-old rookie goalie Frederik Andersen over him. He was great in the regular season, but has a 3.17 GAA and .898 save percentage in four playoff games against Dallas. It got to the point in Game 4 last night where Andersen was pulled in favor of Hiller, although the damage was done and the Ducks lost 4-2.
After the game, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau was asked if he felt Andersen wasn’t as sharp tonight.
“I didn’t really notice it in the first period because I didn’t think they had a lot of opportunities,” Boudreau said. “But after they scored their second goal, I told Hilly [Jonas Hiller] to get ready because I didn’t think he was that sharp, but then he settled down and I think right after that made a flurry of good saves, and I thought, OK, he is settling down. Then in the third period, when they got that goal, I thought it was time.”
Now the question is if they go back to Andersen or give Hiller a shot after the Ducks suffered back-to-back losses. Anaheim has already made tough lineup calls in this series. Last night for example, future Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne was a healthy scratch.
When it comes to naming a goalie for Game 5 though, there’s no clear choice and that’s bad news for a Ducks squad that hopes to go far in the playoffs.