The Anaheim Ducks have done plenty to try and snap No. 1 goalie Jonas Hiller from his ongoing funk, but nothing seems to be working.
After losing to the lowly Oilers on Sunday — a game in which Hiller allowed three second-period goals en route to a 4-2 defeat — Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau all but confirmed Hiller was struggling with the mental side of the game.
“I think [Hiller’s] really lacking in confidence,” Boudreau said, per the L.A. Times. “Once the first one went in, he was worried until he regained his composure.”
The Swiss ‘tender is 6-9-3 in his last 18 outings and dropped his last three decisions — two of them to Edmonton — while allowing 11 goals on 67 shots, an .836 save percentage. Boudreau, who noticed Hiller was showing signs of fatigue recently, gave his goalie three consecutive games off from Mar. 29-Apr. 2 in the hopes of providing Hiller a mental refresher…but all it seems to have done is further muddle the situation.
Frederik Andersen, who’s been outstanding for Anaheim this year, played well in Hiller’s absence but suffered an injury on Friday versus Nashville, and didn’t travel with the Ducks on their current two-game roadie (Anaheim plays in Vancouver tonight). That forced the club to bring up 20-year-old phenom John Gibson — you can read more about him here, and here and here — and, given Hiller’s latest setback, it’s very possible Gibson could make his Ducks and NHL debut tonight against the Canucks.
“I’ll talk to the coaches and people and we’ll see what we’re doing,” Boudreau said.
BB would not say whether Hiller or Gibson will start tomorrow in Vancouver.
— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) April 7, 2014
Hiller, who acknowledged his recent struggles, said he’s not getting any puck luck at the moment.
“Seems like now I can’t get a break, like things find a way to hit me and go in,” Hiller said. “Those bounces happen when you don’t work enough.”