By Adam Brady | AnaheimDucks.com
A normally reliable Frederik Andersen had by far his worst performance of the postseason in Mondaqy night’s Game 5, but the Ducks say that hasn’t diminished their confidence in the Ducks netminder.
The 25-year-old gave up four goals to the Blackhawks, at least two of which he probably should have stopped in what ultimately was a 5-4 Ducks victory in overtime. The most egregious one came with 37.2 seconds left in regulation, when Hawks captain Jonathan Toews threw the puck on net from a bad angle along the extended goal line. It somehow got under Andersen, who kicked it over the stripe with his instep.
|“Getzy came down right away and tried to pick me up and told me whatever matters now is the next shot,” Andersen said. “That’s all I can worry about.” |
The usually unflappable Andersen did allow himself a slight bang of his stick handle on the ice as the Blackhawks celebrated, but he recovered with the help of his teammates, notably Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.
“Getzy came down right away and tried to pick me up and told me whatever matters now is the next shot,” Andersen said. “That’s all I can worry about.”
Andersen didn’t have to make a save in overtime as the Ducks won it on a Matt Beleskey goal just 45 seconds into the extra session. And his teammates say there are no concerns about him going forward, namely in Wednesday night’s Game 6 in Chicago.
“No. Not at all,” said Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler when asked if the team had any doubts in Andersen. “There are obviously times through the playoffs with any player, no matter who you are, there are going to be mistakes made. I think if you talk to Freddie, he’d say he’d maybe want one or two of those back. But he’s a guy who has been an absolute rock for us all season long. There are going to be nights like that once in awhile, but by no means have we lost any confidence in him. He’s our guy.”
Indeed, Game 5 was a surprisingly disappointing performance for the Danish goalie who came into the game sporting a stellar 10-3 record with a 1.92 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in the postseason. He has been steady all season for the Ducks (35-12-5 in the regular season) while earning the No. 1 netminder spot despite talented John Gibson waiting in the wings as a backup. But any thoughts of inserting Gibson going forward was resoundingly dismissed by Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau this morning.
“There are going to be bounces that happen throughout a playoff series. There are going to be things you don’t want to happen or mistakes that are going to be made,” Boudreau said. “You go through those things as a team. It’s not an individual thing. We go on to Game 6 with Freddie as our No. 1 guy and with all the confidence in the world in him.”
|"He’s a guy who has been an absolute rock for us all season long. There are going to be nights like that once in awhile, but by no means have we lost any confidence in him. He’s our guy.” |
Andersen said today he’s put last night behind him, and his only focus is on the horizon. “For me, it’s all about the next shot, and it’s all about the next game right now,” he said. “What happened last night, all that matters right now is we got the win.”
There have been concerns – mostly in the press – of fatigue for Andersen, who has played every minute of all 14 games for the Ducks this postseason, including five overtime affairs (two of them multiple OTs). His 68 games played combined between regular season and playoffs is the most he’s ever played in a campaign.
“He’s a big, strong guy, and I ask him every day if he’s feeling good, and he says he is,” Boudreau said of the 6-3, 236-pounder. “It is a lot of games in a row for him, as it is for [Chicago goalie Corey] Crawford. I don’t think overtime has helped anybody either. But we’re not changing anything. We’re going with Freddie. He’s our guy.”
There is no doubt Andersen is a major reason the Ducks find themselves one win away from a berth in the Stanley Cup Final, and the Ducks feel his lackluster Game 5 is nothing but an anomaly.
“We know he’s going to respond,” Fowler said, “and have a great Game 6.”