Does anyone else feel a little sorry for Anaheim Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller?
He helped the Ducks get to the playoffs with a Pacific Division title and what turns out to be home-ice advantage through to the Western Conference Final. But because of a rough stretch late in the season, he took a backseat to rookie Frederik Andersen in the opening round.
When Andersen struggled in Games 4 and 6 against the Dallas Stars, Hiller came in as a reliever of sorts, winning the series clincher in Game 6. Hiller earned the starts for the first two games at home for Round 2 but the Ducks came up empty, and so Anderson became the starter again for Game 3. An injury to Andersen led to Hiller's return, and he was solid in relief to win the Ducks' first game of the series.
Here's where things get a little weird, or at least gutsy—neither Hiller nor Andersen got the call for Game 4. That went to freshman John Gibson, who had previously played all of three NHL games in his career.
Turns out the highly touted 20-year-old was up for it, blanking the Kings 2-0 to become the youngest goalie in the league to earn a shutout in his first playoff game. Maybe not the biggest surprise considering he also shut out the Vancouver Canucks in his regular-season debut in April.
"It's a tough situation that he's put in, with [Saturday] night maybe, possibly, their season on the line," said Kings forward Mike Richards, according to the Los Angeles Times. "It's now a best-of-three series, so it's a lot of pressure to put on a young kid."
Now, Gibson is the Ducks' starter for the foreseeable future. Head coach Bruce Boudreau did something he never does and named his starter well in advance of Game 5, via CBSsports.com's Chris Peters.
The big question here is what happens if Gibson falters? Does Hiller get another chance?