Andersen, a backup to Jonas Hiller through most of the season, started Saturday night’s Freeway Faceoff Series game in Los Angeles, winning his 20th decision in a shootout. Head coach Bruce Boudreau announced the decision at Wednesday’s morning skate, saying his performance against the Kings and in practices this week was enough to warrant a start.
However, with another highly-touted rookie in John Gibson also available, Boudreau made no promises past the first game.
"We’ve got three good goalies and I just think right now, Andersen has played the best gives us the best chance to win," Boudreau said. "That doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be starting game two, but he’ll be starting Game 1."
Although it is a relatively small sample size, Andersen’s .923 save percentage and 2.29 goals against average marks are both among the top-10 in the league.
Against the Kings, Andersen made 27 saves and made several impressive stops in a furious overtime period.
"Going down the stretch he saved our bacon a couple of times," Boudreau said. "Putting him in a position in a real hostile environment and seeing how he performed he came away really, really good. When it got tied 3-3, he just sort of said there’s no more going in."
Three high-caliber goalies is a nice problem to have at this time of year, and captain Ryan Getzlaf said the team is standing behind each one.
"He’s played some big games for us this year and obviously rose to the occasion," Getzlaf said. "We have no goalie questions in our locker room. We know he can play and play at a high level."
— Two marquee top lines will be on display Wednesday night with Anaheim’s center-right combination of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry and Dallas’ left-center pair in Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. But it’s not certain that they will all be on the nice at the same time yet.
"I’m sure at some point," Boudreau said. "I think every matchup is based on the individual teams that you play. For most of this year, we knew we would have Saku (Koivu) playing against the other team’s top line. And it might end up going that way too but everybody is different."
— Left wing Patrick Maroon’s name has only recently jumped on the radar his relative anonymity might be an advantage for the Ducks.
"He’s an unknown as far as a lot of people in the east but he’s playing great for us," Boudreau said. "He’s become a true power forward and it’s his first playoffs so we’ll be able to see how he can handle that as well. He was up here last year but didn’t get into a game in the first series so he saw what it was like but this will be his first true action tonight."
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— Dallas head coach Lindy Ruff returns to the playoffs after a two-year hiatus. It’s not necessarily an unlikely playoff appearance, but after coming from Buffalo it’s one that many didn’t see happening at the start of the season. Ruff’s ability to keep the group together through an up-and-down season is why they are in this position today.
"Even through the tough times, this group has remained positive and stuck with it," Ruff said. "It’s become hardened and more resilient and not once questioned how we’re going to play. They just stuck to it and at the end of the year we got rewarded for it."