If the last four games are any indication, the Ducks’ crease will be worth watching over the final 11 of the season.
Anaheim is 3-1 over those last four, and has rotated starts between netminders Frederik Andersen and John Gibson — like it has throughout various parts of this season. But with both playing very well, there’s a legitimate question at hand:
Could the goalie timeshare continue into the postseason?
“Both guys have been excellent, and it’s hard to pick between both,” Pierre LeBrun said on the latest installment of TSN’s Insider Trading. “So yes, Bruce Boudreau is thinking that both might be in the mix for the playoffs.”
Statistically speaking, there hasn’t been much between Andersen and Gibson this season. The former is 20-9-6 with a 2.17 GAA and .924 save percentage while the latter — a first-time All-Star — is 17-10-3 with a 2.07 GAA and .919 save percentage.
And both have playoff experience.
Andersen was the guy for Anaheim last spring, playing every minute of every game en route to Game 7 of the Western Conference Final. Yes, his play in that Conference Final was spotty — he gave up 18 goals over the final four games versus Chicago, and finished the series with a .901 save percentage — but that experience could prove invaluable.
There’s little doubt Gibson is the club’s goalie of the future, but he’s still just 22 years old and doesn’t have a huge postseason resume. Boudreau went to him during the ’14 playoffs for a brief spell, four games all told, and Anaheim was bounced in the second round by L.A.
Crease conundrums are nothing new in Anaheim, of course.
During that ’14 run in which Gibson made his postseason debut, Boudreau started three different goalies — Andersen, Gibson and Jonas Hiller — which proved to be an awkward situation in the blue paint.
Crease conundrums are nothing new for Boudreau, either.
His penchant for flip-flopping predates his time with the Ducks. In Washington, he yanked Jose Theodore in favor of Semyon Varlamov during the 2009 playoffs; a year later, after vowing “there is no short leash” for Theodore, Boudreau yanked him in favor of Varlamov.
As such, it’ll be very curious to see what way the veteran head coach leans this postseason. A goalie timeshare is a novel approach, but one wrought with potential problems, because it’s hard for a goalie to get comfortable when he’s always looking over his shoulder.