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Ducks goalie Andersen remains confident, focused

by Curtis Zupke / NHL.com

ANAHEIM -- The most games Anaheim Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen played before this season was 47, and that was in the American Hockey League.

Andersen is 68 games into this season and, although he has represented nothing but calm stability for Anaheim, it's fair to wonder how he will rebound after his shakiest game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

If Game 5 of the Western Conference Final represented any mental fatigue from his longest season, he didn't let on going into Game 6 on Wednesday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). Anaheim leads the best-of-7 series, 3-2, and is one win away from its first trip to the Stanley Cup Final since 2007.

"I think I've always been good at bouncing back," Andersen said. "And I think [Wednesday is] going to be a great opportunity again. It's all about winning that one game and going to the Finals. That's all my focus is right now.

"I know how good I can be and I've shown that the whole playoffs. Maybe last game wasn't my best, but stuff happens when you're a goalie. It's about what you do next that matters."

Andersen and the Ducks allowed two goals to Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews in the final 1:50 of regulation in Game 5, the latter on a throw-it-on-net shot from a steep angle with 38 seconds left to force overtime.

Andersen, like most goalies, said he focused on stopping the next shot, but that next shot never came because Matt Beleskey scored 45 seconds into overtime.

Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau didn't know if fatigue was starting to effect Andersen, but naturally has faith in his goalie.

"He's a big, strong guy," Boudreau said. "I ask him every day if he's feeling good. He says he is. But it is a lot of games in a row for him, as it is for [Chicago goalie Corey] Crawford. I don't think the overtimes help anybody as far as, you know, continuing to play. But we're not changing anything. We're going with Freddie. He's our guy."

Boudreau said Andersen's past experience tells him that "we expect him to be great" on Wednesday. Andersen has rebounded with a win after each of the Ducks' three playoff losses, all in overtime, and allowed seven goals in those three wins.

Andersen, 25, played in the IIHF World Championship for Denmark but this is so far the biggest-stakes game he will play in his NHL career. By contrast, Crawford has played in 68 playoff games and won the Cup in 2013.

Andersen, who carries an understated swagger, said he doesn't think about the weight of Game 6.

"But I use it as motivation," he said. "Once you play the game, you focus on what you have ahead of you. You can't get caught up in the moment and think about what happens if you win. You just got to keep focusing, keep talking to your [defensemen], keep looking at the puck, and good things happen."

Anaheim has made a lot of good things happen, having not lost in regulation in the playoffs. It is off to its second-best playoff start through 14 games (11-3) in franchise history; the 2003 team started 12-2 and made the Cup Final.

Corey Perry, one of three remaining players from the 2007 Cup-winning team, admitted how close the Ducks are.

"It's exciting," Perry said. "You only get this chance so many times. You remember those times that you've had success and you've gone to the next step. We have a great opportunity going into Chicago. To be this close, everybody in this room knows where we are, where we stand, what the game's going to be like. You have to go in there and you have to believe that you can win in that building again."

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