Anaheim Ducks v Dallas Stars - Game Six

Ducks go with Hiller in Game 1 vs. Kings


Maybe it came after much deliberation or perhaps Bruce Boudreau was just putting up a smokescreen, but either way, it appears that Jonas Hiller will be the Anaheim Ducks’ starter on Saturday as they face the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 of their second-round series.

Hiller, 32, took over for Frederik Andersen in Game 6 against the Dallas Stars. He stopped all of the 12 shots he faced in a relief appearance that ended up being a come-from-behind win that ended that first-round series in overtime.

It’s been an up-and-down season for both Hiller and Andersen, as Boudreau noted that the former’s confidence seemed shaken heading into the playoffs.

Hiller went 1-0-1 with two goals allowed on 87 shots in two regular season games against the Kings this season. He’s played in 21 regular season games against Los Angeles in his NHL career, posting a 9-8-3 record with an impressive .928 save percentage. It’s unclear what inspired Boudreau to pick Hiller over Andersen, but now the Swiss-born goalie is tasked with shutting down the red-hot Kings.

Here are the full lineups:

Virtanen to make NHL debut tonight versus Kings

Jake Virtanen
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Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.

The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.

“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”

Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.

The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.

If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.

Goalie nods: Lack to make ‘Canes debut

Eddie Lack, Stanislav Galiev

Carolina fans will get their first regular-season look at Eddie Lack tonight when the ‘Canes host the Panthers at PNC Arena.

“[Lack’s] excited, and the guys are excited to play in front of him,” head coach Bill Peters said on Tuesday, per the club website. “He’s a good teammate, and they want to play hard in front of him.

“I think Eddie will be more than solid. He was good in the preseason, and I’m glad we’re able to get him in as soon as we have.”

The ‘Canes went with Cam Ward in their first two games of the season — both losses — and the results were a mixed bag. Ward was steady in the opener, stopping 23 of 25 shots, but wasn’t great against Detroit on Saturday, allowing four goals on just 19 shots.

Should he play well tonight, Lack could be in line for more starts in the near future. Carolina will embark on a seven-games-in-13-nights road swing later this week, which includes back-to-backs in Los Angeles and San Jose on Oct. 23 and 24.

For the Panthers, Al Montoya will get the start, giving No. 1 Roberto Luongo the evening off.


— New Jersey’s Keith Kinkaid will face Nashville for his first home start of the year, as Cory Schneider is away from the team following the birth of his son. Yann Danis has been called up from AHL Albany to back up. Pekka Rinne goes for the Preds.

Michael Hutchinson starts for the Jets in New York tonight. The Rangers will again roll with Henrik Lundqvist, who’ll play for the fourth time in six nights.

Carey Price is back in net for Montreal against Pittsburgh. Price watched Mike Condon get his first career NHL victory on Sunday against the Sens; for the Pens, Marc-Andre Fleury looks to get his first win of the year after opening with losses in Dallas and Arizona.

Martin Jones makes his third straight start for the Sharks, while Braden Holtby makes his second straight for the Caps.

Ben Bishop goes for the Lightning tonight in an opening-round playoff rematch against the Red Wings. Jimmy Howard goes for Detroit, after posting a shutout in the season opener.

Anders Nilsson will make his Oilers debut this evening in Dallas, taking over for Cam Talbot. For the Stars, Kari Lehtonen will get his first start of the year, and is looking to rebound from a shaky preseason.

Brian Elliott, who started the season opener, is back in goal for the Blues tonight for Calgary. The Flames will counter with Jonas Hiller, making his second straight start after Karri Ramo got the season-opener (a 5-1 home loss to Vancouver).

— No confirmations yet from either Vancouver or L.A. for tonight’s game at Staples. It’s likely that Ryan Miller will go — the Canucks have third-stringer Richard Bachman backing up with Jacob Markstrom (hamstring) injured — and it’s a good bet the Kings go with Jonathan Quick, given they’re 0-2 and need a win.

Related: Quick on save percentage: ‘Those numbers don’t mean nothing’