It has been a few years since the Anaheim Ducks have had a tandem worth noting in net; this being the most clutch season between the pipes thus far.
The Ducks can boastfully say they have Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth; two goalies who are statistically similar and have performed well when called upon. Below is a sum of their stats:
Both goalies have had their ups and downs, but mostly more ups. Hiller has been pulled twice, against the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche, and Fasth was only chased out of the net once against the Detroit Red Wings. Between that and their numbers, it’s evident that these two can be relied on. The majority of the games lost under Hiller was as a result of the team only scoring one goal, which on most nights doesn’t win you games. The same almost applies to Fasth –with two or less goals being scored– but he did have a few games where he allowed four goals, which is also a recipe for a loss.
Playoff wise, Hiller started in the ’08-’09 postseason for the Ducks and lasted up to Game 7 in the Semifinals against the Detroit Red Wings. In his postseason debut, Hiller led the league in SV% (.946), had a shutout streak of 90:16, withstood a triple OT game against the Wings and won, and he was tied for first in shutouts (2). All of which are remarkable feats for any goalie during his first crack at the playoffs. That was the last time Anaheim had tasted postseason sweat.
Then in ’10-’11 Hiller was plagued with vertigo. Following his recovery, some would say he has improved while others believe he never regained his exceptional form since.
Now, two seasons later, Hiller once again has put up the numbers, but this time he has been sharing the coveted starting position with Fasth who has been playing an astonishing NHL debut season.
I’m an advocate of a team that relies on both of their netminders, and not solely on just their starter. That approach doesn’t just benefit the goaltender –who isn’t being ran into the ground– but it makes the team more versatile. The Ducks are grateful to be headed into the playoffs with the two that they have in the crease, which is why it is still unknown who will start in the Semifinals. Come playoffs, all numbers are thrown out of the window; it can be anyone’s game and either goalie can be called upon next week when the postseason kicks off.
Bruce Boudreau’s success in Anaheim hasn’t stemmed from relying heavily on match-ups, which has helped the team immensely as a whole and on the road –the Ducks finish this season with the best road winning percentage in team history and they have been able to roll out four lines with ease. If you ask me, Boudreau will start Hiller regardless of who the Ducks play in the first round. I also wouldn’t doubt that Fasth will make his NHL playoff debut depending how far the team gets. Either way, Boudreau has a tough decision to make, which isn’t a bad thing.
Hiller has playoff experience and has not given anyone a reason not to start him. Fasth may be a rookie –at the age of 30– but the main advantage he brings to the table is he is still so new to the league that teams are still trying to figure him out.
In Bruce We Trust.
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