The last two shots Frederik Andersen faced went in, including one of the softest big-moment goals imaginable, Jonathan Toews’ zero-angle equalizer in the final minute of Game 5 in Anaheim. How does a goalie bounce back from that?
“Well, he got the win,” Andrew Shaw said.
That certainly helps. The Hawks never got a chance to test Andersen in overtime, as Bryan Bickell’s failed dump-in led to Matt Beleskey’s game-winning goal just 45 seconds in. And if the Hawks are still in his head entering tonight’s Game 6, the 25-year-old Dane is not showing it.
“I played a great year and have [had] a good playoffs so far,” Andersen said after Wednesday’s morning skate. “I’m not getting down on myself because of two goals that I let in. I’m more of a pro than that.”
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau’s confidence in his goalie hasn’t wavered, either.
“During the course of the season, if he’s had a bad game, the next fame’s been really good,” Boudreau said. “I have no qualms about Freddie. The lucky thing is he didn’t play as well as he would have liked to and we won.”
At the very least, the Hawks have been chipping away at Andersen’s early series invincibility, with nine goals in the last two games, and seven in the last four periods of regulation hockey. The Hawks have done a better job of creating traffic in the crease, and finding open shots against Anaheim’s relentless shot-blockers.
“The last couple games, maybe, I think we’ve been getting to him a little better,” Jonathan Toews said. “He’s made a lot of great saves, and some of the goals we’ve really had to earn against him, but I think to a certain degree we want to feel that maybe we’ve broken through and opened the gates a little bit, so that we can continue to do the things we’re doing. And we have confidence that we will continue to see the results, as well.”
But the Hawks, like the Ducks, and like Andersen himself, expect him to be at his best in Game 6.
“He’s a great goalie,” Shaw said. “He stood on his head all series and I just think if we get traffic to him, take away his eyes from seeing the puck, it’s going to be good for us. But he’s going to rebound after the last game, and he’s going to stand on his head again tonight.”