By Kyle Shohara
Surrounded by a sea of orange towels lining every seat inside Honda Center, the Ducks took to the ice in preparation for Game 1 of the first round vs. Dallas.
Goaltender Frederik Andersen will get the start tonight, and the calm, cool and collected rookie says nerves aren’t really a factor.
“It’s just a matter of getting ready and enjoying the moment,” he said. “I’m not really nervous because I know how I’m capable of playing.”
Andersen started the season in Norfolk of the American Hockey League, but injuries to former Ducks goaltender Viktor Fasth, coupled with his own stellar play, kept him with the Ducks for the majority of the season.
“It’s going to be something you remember,” he said of his postseason debut. “It’s what you work for all summer and all year. You take it one step at a time, and finally you get to start in the playoffs. You start your journey toward something special.”
Head coach Bruce Boudreau had to choose from three goaltenders [including Jonas Hiller and rookie John Gibson], and ultimately called upon Andersen.
“We’ve had three good goalies, but right now Andersen gives us the best chance to win,” he said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be starting Game 2 [Friday], but he’ll be starting Game 1.”
Andersen brings a stellar regular season record into his first venture in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The 24-year-old from Herning, Denmark posted a 20-5-0 record with a 2.29 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in 28 games. Among NHL goaltenders, Andersen ranked tied for 10th in GAA and tied for eighth in SV%. Andersen also led rookie netminders in wins, GAA and SV%.
Mathieu Perreault will be making his Ducks playoff debut tonight, and the 26-year-old says he can’t wait to see the fans “paint it orange.”
“I know it’s going to be awesome seeing everybody waving the towels,” he said. “The crowd is going to be awesome.”
This will be Perreault’s third postseason, having advanced to the Stanley Cup Playoffs the last two consecutive seasons with the Washington Capitals. Perreault played in all seven Eastern Conference Quarterfinal games against the New York Rangers in 2013, co-leading the team in scoring (1g/3a), assists and plus/minus (+3).
The 2014 postseason marks Anaheim’s 10th overall appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (1997, 1999, 2003, 2006-09, 2011, 2013-14). In those nine previous appearances, the Ducks have compiled an all-time playoff record of 58-44 (.569 win percentage), including a 34-20 mark at home (.630 win percentage) and a road record of 24-27. The club has appeared in 19 playoff series (11-8 in those series), including two Stanley Cup Final appearances (2003, 2007) and one Stanley Cup championship (2007).
The Ducks and Stars meet for the third time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs beginning tonight at Honda Center (previously 2003 and 2008). Both teams have earned a 4-2 series win, Anaheim in 2003 and Dallas in 2008. All-time, the Ducks are 3-3 at home and 3-3 on the road against the Stars.
Teemu Selanne leads Anaheim skaters in career playoff scoring vs. Dallas, collecting six points (2g/4a) in 11 career games. Only three other skaters have faced the Stars in the postseason, including Francois Beauchemin (six games), Ryan Getzlaf (2g/3a in six games) and Corey Perry (2g/1a in three games). There are a total of seven players remaining from the 2008 series participating in this current series, six of whom still or now play for the Ducks. Those Anaheim players include Selanne, Beauchemin, Getzlaf, Perry, Stephane Robidas (then with Dallas) and Mark Fistric (then with Dallas). Trevor Daley is the lone Stars player remaining from their 2008 playoff roster.