There’s an old saying in hockey.
“Show me a good goalie and I’ll show you a good coach.”
Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau apparently likes to flip that phrase around. With a solid, established starter at his disposal on Saturday, he opted to go with rookie John Gibson over Ducks regular Jonas Hiller.
And it worked. Gibson pitched a 28-save shutout against the Los Angeles Kings in a 2-0 win that evened the Kings-Ducks series at two games apiece.
The Kings pressed hard to beat the 20-year-old Gibson. Anaheim didn’t even get a shot in the second period while L.A. came at the Ducks in waves. But there was no solving the young American netminder in his first career playoff game.
Stop me if you’ve heard this story before.
Boudreau’s never been one to pick a goalie and run with him in the playoffs. Unlike many coaches who like to rely on an established veteran to carry the team, Boudreau has a history of turning to young goaltenders when the chips are down.
And for whatever reason, it seems to work for him.
Just ask Braden Holtby, Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth about their playoff experience under Boudreau in Washington. All those guys had bright playoff moments under Boudreau, short-lived though they were.
Boudreau’s never been shy about trying a new guy in net, though he keeps a short leash on his goaltenders and has a keen sense for who’s going to have the hot hand.
That hot hand is Gibson right now, and there’s every likelihood he gets the start in Game 5 after Saturday’s performance.
Kings backup Martin Jones also had a good night after coming in at 2-0 in relief of Jonathan Quick. He didn’t allow a goal, but Jones couldn’t score for his team, either, and that’s what L.A. really needed.
And while there’s no chance Jones takes the net from Quick, tonight will have plenty of resonance in Anaheim.
Has John Gibson, the goalie of the future, arrived already?
Are Jonas Hiller’s days over with the Ducks?
And is Frederik Andersen happy to stay as a backup? He did get some action earlier in these playoffs, after all.
Three good goalies is a good problem to have, especially when you like to play them off each other.
Three goalies is a whole lot better than no goalies.
Bruce Boudreau would certainly agree.