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Boudreau has two goalies, and isn't afraid to use both

by Curtis Zupke

ANAHEIM -- The common thinking is that a team needs to ride one goalie to make a deep run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But Bruce Boudreau's experience is not common.

Boudreau switched between Jose Theodore and Semyon Varlamov when he was coach of the Washington Capitals. In Boudreau's second season with the Anaheim Ducks, he has the option of Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth.

Hiller will get the start for Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Detroit Red Wings, although Boudreau coyly said, "I haven't stated that I'm going with Hiller yet" at the Tuesday morning skate.

But no one would blink an eye if Boudreau kept Hiller on a short leash because Fasth proved more than capable in his first NHL season at 30 years old. Hiller went 15-6-4 with a 2.36 goals-against average and .913 save percentage in the regular season; Fasth went 15-6-2 with a 2.18 GAA and .921 save percentage, plus four shutouts to Hiller's one.

The only other team with two goalies with at least 15 victories was the Chicago Blackhawks, with Ray Emery and Corey Crawford.

Hiller was the team's No. 1 before Fasth came here, and he has more playoff experience, not to mention a $4.5 million salary to Fasth's $1 million.

"It's a toss-up, quite frankly, between them. If there's any advantage for Hiller, it's because he has playoff experience on this side of the water," Boudreau said.

Hiller was in goal for the Ducks' playoff run in 2009, when Anaheim upset the San Jose Sharks in the quarterfinals and took Detroit to a seventh game in the semifinals. That is the only playoff series the Ducks have won since they won the 2007 Stanley Cup.

It's also the last time Hiller appeared in the postseason. He was riddled with vertigo symptoms in 2011 and couldn't play. Hiller said he was told a couple of days ago he would start Game 1.

"I couldn't be part of it last time," Hiller said. "So I was looking forward to this moment to be back in playoffs for quite a while. I'm really excited.

"I tried not to worry too much about it. Every time I played, I tried to play as good as possible. I think Viktor kind of made it tough to play better than him. I was kind of hoping that having the experience going through the playoffs, playing over here a little longer, would work out in my favor."

Fasth said, "I think me and Jonas has been pushing each other all season long and pushing the other one to play as good as we can. I think it's a good situation for the team and both for me and Jonas, too, because you always have to stay sharp and there's no time to relax. You have to work hard the whole time."

It’s not quite a goalie controversy, but each netminders probably will see starts unless one is truly dominant. Even then, ever-changing Boudreau might mix it up. For Boudreau, it's not unusual.

"Vancouver went with [Roberto] Luongo for a while and switched halfway through the playoffs [last season, to Cory Schneider]," Boudreau said. "It's not a precedent that we've set or anything. You go and you do what you have to do. In the '60s, teams did it all the time.

"If you look at it, usually you have one high-priced goalie and one low-priced goalie, so you got to ride the high-priced goalie. We've got two guys that are pretty good, so it doesn't make much of a difference.

"They both know the situation, and we'll see how the games unfold."

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