Anaheim’s Andersen Resumes Starting Role in Playoffs
The Anaheim Ducks started out their postseason using perennial rookie netminder John Gibson to face the Nashville Predators, but after two games – and an assertion from head coach Bruce Boudreau that Gibson has just been “okay” in the two consecutive dropped games by the club – they’re switching back to Frederik Andersen.
At least the switch doesn’t come as a surprise to Andersen, In addition to Boudreau’s history of goaltending flip-flops in Anaheim and with the Washington Capitals, he said going into the playoffs he might use both his goalies.
“Yeah, at some point I’m going to play so just got to keep ready,” Andersen told The Orange County Register when asked if he expected to play. “Keep being ready. Help the team win. Bottom line.”
As for entering the series already down 2-0 to the Predators and with little margin for error, Andersen dismissed the idea of extra pressure.
“There’s always pressure no matter what time of year,” he told The Register. “This is the most fun kind of pressure so I’m excited to play.”
Andersen played all 16 games in the Ducks run to the Western Conference Final last season, and was solid while making the majority of starts this year. Despite a poor record in the first handful of games in the 2015-16 season, nearly none of the losses Anaheim sustained to start out their year were Andersen’s fault; a lack of goals scored turned games in which Andersen allowed just one or two goals into losses for the Pacific Division club.
So what specifically does Andersen bring to the net, now that he may be finishing the postseason for the Ducks?
InGoal already took a deep dive into Gibson’s game in a playoff preview for those who want to read up and get their comparisons ready.
Like Gibson, Andersen stays on his feet relatively frequently. The biggest difference between the two is depth. Sometimes lauded in the past for coming out farther than many would expect for a goaltender of his size, Andersen has played a more contained game this season, wandering beyond the edges of his crease less frequently and not venturing out as far when he does, even against rush chances.
Andersen uses a variety of post-integration tactics, and arrived in the NHL from his time in Sweden well ahead of the curve with an active, mobile reverse-VH. he does have a tendency to overload his push skate when making lateral movements to and from his knees, however, which generates a lot of lateral power but opens up the five hole more and than necessary and can get his big frame moving quickly in one direction and delay his reaction on second shots or play coming back the other way. He’s at his best when making shorter, more controlled lateral movements, even if it means reaching a bit more with active hands.
Speaking of hands, Andersen has an active glove and does a good job tracking into pucks on his left side, but the blocker is an oft-criticized area for the netminder, who has a habit of turning on his blocker side when dropping into butterfly, opening up more space for the shooter and forcing him to play catch up with a blocker face moving almost perpendicular to the path of the puck.
For the Ducks, the move from Gibson to Andersen wasn’t necessarily a must heading into Game 3 on Tuesday. As mentioned above, Gibson has kept the team in tight games so far, and could easily recover and help the team in this series.
“It’s not anything John’s doing,” Boudreau told reporters in Nashville on Tuesday. “It’s more changing it to hopefully get our team playing a little bit better.”