Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen struggled early in Game 4 but made a key save with his team trailing, turning the tide and leading to a win.
The Calgary Flames started Game 4 of their Pacific Division semifinal appropriately fired up against the Anaheim Ducks. Johnny Gaudreau and Micheal Ferland beat Frederik Andersen twice within the first six minutes to put Calgary up 2-1. The Flames’ were fast and flyin’, Andersen looked shaky and it appeared the series would head back to Orange County tied 2-2.
Gaudreau had a glorious chance to put Calgary up 3-1 in the second period. Maybe he would’ve chased Andersen with a goal, too. Instead, Andersen came up with a spectacular desperation save. Check it out:
What a ridiculous sprawling save to stop Gaudreau on a big rebound. It held Calgary’s lead at one goal before Andrew Cogliano scored later that period to tie the game and Matt Beleskey notched the winner for Anaheim in the third.
The save was symbolic for Andersen. He had a lot to prove in Game 4 since Game 3 was his weakest of the playoffs. He stopped just 17 of 21 shots, posting an .810 save percentage in his first defeat of the post-season. It was just a coincidence that “goalie of the future” John Gibson was finally healthy enough to dress for Game 4, but the timing was foreboding, wasn’t it? The two goalies have traded the starting job back and forth for the past year, with coach Bruce Boudreau flip-flopping on who to use even in the middle of series. Had Andersen blown Game 4 and let Calgary even things up, Boudreau suddenly would’ve had a viable alternative in net.
But, after the worst possible start to Friday night, Andersen bore down. He made an epic save that proved just as important as any other moment in the game. And he displayed real mental toughness. So, prospect junkies, it appears we’ll have to wait a little longer for the Gibson era to resume. Andersen has earned the right to keep backstopping these Cup-contending Ducks.
Matt Larkin is an associate editor at The Hockey News and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Matt Larkin on Twitter at @THNMattLarkin