By Kyle Shohara
The 2014-15 campaign marked Frederik Andersen
’s second season in the National Hockey League, and the 25-year-old picked up right where he left off. Following an impressive 2013-14 season that saw the Herning, Denmark native earn the most wins (20) by a rookie since 2011-12, Andersen completed this past season with a 35-12-5 record, 2.38 goals-against average and .914 save percentage in 54 games.
His notables included posting the second-most wins (35) in franchise single-season history (J.S. Giguere had 36 in 2006-07) and establishing career highs in wins, shutouts (3), appearances, saves (1,313) and shots faced (1,436). Andersen also became the fastest goaltender to 26 wins (26-5-0) all-time, and tied the league record for the fastest to 50 wins (50-13-5). The only goaltender to reach 55 wins in a shorter span than Andersen (77 games) was the late Bill Durnan of the Montreal Canadiens, who had 58 wins in 77 contests.
Despite being Anaheim’s workhorse between the pipes, Andersen missed eight games in February because of a freak injury which occurred in Tampa Bay. Andersen was hit in the back of the head by the crossbar as the net came crashing down on top of him. After returning to the lineup on March 1 vs. Los Angeles, Andersen went on to win six of his final 10 games of the season.
His impressive play carried over into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, appearing in all 16 games, including Game 7 of the Western Conference Final vs. Chicago. Andersen went 11-5 and finished the postseason ranked tied for third in victories and fourth in saves (431). As a carryover from last year’s playoffs, Andersen won his first nine consecutive postseason games at Honda Center (April 16, 2014-May 17, 2015), marking the longest postseason home winning streak by any goaltender in Stanley Cup Playoffs history since LA’s Jonathan Quick (June 11, 2012-June 4, 2013; 9-0).
Looking ahead to next season, the Ducks figure to enter the season with the same formidable goaltending duo of Andersen and John Gibson, who turns 22 on July 14.
During his exit interview last month, Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau said he expects another healthy goaltending battle for the starting job.
“I’ve got to believe Gibby, now that he’s healthy, he wants to play,” said Boudreau. “He’s not used to sitting on the bench. And I think Freddie has gotten a taste of what it’s like to be No. 1 and he won’t let it up. I would venture to guess it would be a pretty good battle.”
Andersen made perhaps his biggest save of the year in Game 4 of the Second Round at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. Leading the series 2-1, but trailing by a goal five minutes into the second period, the Ducks found themselves in a tightly contested battle with the Flames. But it was Andersen who kept the Ducks in the game. After sustaining pressure inside the Ducks’ end, Flames defenseman TJ Brodie unloaded a shot from the left point which Andersen kicked aside. Unfortunately, it was placed right on the stick of Johnny Gaudreau, left uncovered on the far side with half of the net available. With one strong push, Andersen sprawled to his left to make a remarkable glove save on Gaudreau. And with less than five minutes remaining in the second period, Andrew Cogliano
capitalized on Gaudreau’s ghastly turnover to even the score. The Ducks went on to win the game, 4-2, and took the series two nights later at Honda Center.
Boudreau labeled the save as “the turning point” in a game which easily could’ve gone the other way if not for Andersen’s heroics.
Cogliano described the magnitude of the stop. “It could’ve been 3-1 and it would’ve opened up the game, but he made a big save at the right time. We were able to continue to push and get a goal late in the second period.”