In news overshadowed by clinching the Pacific Division, the Anaheim Ducks blew the doors wide open for a potential goalie controversy — and it came from their head coach, Bruce Boudreau.
Asked if he expects to remain in goal over primary starter Jonas Hiller or 19-win rookie Frederik Andersen in the playoffs, [John] Gibson said, “We’ll see.”
Of his decision to play Gibson on Wednesday, Boudreau said, “It’s a little bit of a gamble … My gut feeling [was] that he’d be the guy at this stage who’d really jump up and do a bang-up job for us.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do now.”
Gibson, 20, is regarded as one of the best young goaltending prospects in the world. He captured tournament MVP at the ’13 World Juniors before performing equally well for the U.S. at the ’13 Worlds, backstopping the Americans to bronze while posting a 1.56 GAA and .951 save percentage.
In two games this year — and yes, they’re the first and only two NHL games of his career — Gibson has looked great, going 2-0-0 while posting a 1.00 GAA and .946 save percentage, with one shutout.
The big key, it seems, is that Boudreau went with Gibson for Wednesday’s game against the Sharks. The Ducks spoke about that game with great importance afterward, saying they were fired up to clinch the Pacific Division and force San Jose to face Los Angeles in the opening round — so, in short, Boudreau rolled the dice and went with Gibson in a game the Ducks really wanted.
Compounding matters is the current state of Anaheim’s other goalies, Jonas Hiller and Frederik Andersen. Hiller has been mired in a slump for nearly a month, forcing Boudreau to admit the Swiss goalie was “really lacking in confidence.” Andersen, who’s enjoying a great rookie campaign and leading all first-year goalie in wins (19), is currently sidelined with an upper-body injury — with the Ducks offering very little as to when he’ll be able to return.