Goalie nods: Gibson starts (again) as Anaheim’s crease gets crowded (again)

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Oh, this again.

Prior to tonight’s tilt against the Sharks, Anaheim had an all-too-familiar look at the morning skate as three goalies — Frederik Andersen, John Gibson and Anton Khudobin — took to the playing surface.

While the Ducks later announced that Gibson would start (his fifth in a row), the real story was about the team’s crowded crease.

More: Khudobin gets second straight start, raising eyebrows in Anaheim

Andersen’s been out since Nov. 21 and was dealing with the flu all last week, which allowed Gibson to be recalled from AHL San Diego, then grasp hold of the starting job. Gibson has registered one shutout and stopped 104 of 112 shots for a .929 save percentage in four starts in Andersen’s absence.

Then, today — when asked about picking a starter for tonight’s big in-division rivalry game against San Jose — Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau had some pretty interesting things to say.

“We’ve brought [Gibson] up in situations where he gets shutouts, in playoffs where he gets shutouts,” Boudreau said, per the O.C. Register. “He’s a big-game guy and this is a big game so hopefully he’ll come to the forefront tonight.”

It’s no secret Boudreau is a big Gibson fan. He had enough belief to start the then-untested rookie in the playoffs two years ago and, along with the rest of the Anaheim brass, recognizes Gibson is the organization’s goalie of the future.

It’s probably not coincidence, then, that on Thursday’s TSN Insider Trading, Darren Dreger said there’s belief Andersen or Khudobin could be made available via trade, adding “It’s based on the play of John Gibson.”

So yeah, it’ll be really interesting to see how Gibson does this evening.

For the Sharks, Martin Jones is in goal.

Elsewhere…

Mike Smith is back in goal for the Coyotes after getting hooked for three goals on 16 shots against Detroit Thursday night. He’ll be up against Chad Johnson in the Sabres’ net.

— It’s Michal Neuvirth versus Cory Schneider when the Flyers take on the Devils in New Jersey.

Al Montoya will give the red-hot Roberto Luongo the night off as the Panthers play Columbus. Sergei Bobrovsky starts for the Jackets.

— Battle of the backups in Brooklyn: Brian Elliott for the Blues, Thomas Greiss for the Isles.

— Looks as though Jonas Gustavsson will start for the Bruins in Calgary, while the Flames are once again riding Karri Ramo.

— No word yet on a Dallas starter after Kari Lehtonen beat the Canucks last night. We do know, however, that Anders Nilsson will be in for Edmonton.