- Craig Custance
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ANAHEIM -- Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau remained coy on his starting goalie before Game 1 against the Red Wings.
“It’s a toss-up between them,” he said Tuesday morning.
But Jonas Hiller was the first goalie off the ice at the Ducks morning skate, an indication he’s the starter. After practice, he confirmed that he’s been told he’s the starting goalie Tuesday night.
“I’m excited about it and definitely looking forward to tonight,” Hiller said. “I was hoping having the experience, going through playoffs and having played over here a little longer would work out in [my] favor.”
Hiller played 13 games for the Ducks in the 2009 playoffs and led the postseason with a .943 save percentage, including two shutouts. Viktor Fasth had the better regular season statistically, sharing time with Hiller and finishing the regular season an impressive 15-6-2 with a 2.18 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in his first NHL season.
But Boudreau conceded that playoff experience plays a factor in a decision like this. Hiller will have a capable backup ready to seize ice time if he struggles, which doesn’t change a thing from the regular season.
“Every time I played, I tried to play as good as possible,” Hiller said. “Viktor made it tough to play better than him.”
DeKeyser ready for postseason debut
Mike Babcock continued to praise the play of rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser, who was playing college hockey at Western Michigan earlier this season before signing with the Red Wings in late March.
He’ll make his postseason debut against the Ducks and has given every indication that’s he’s ready for it.
“I watched him a ton obviously over two years, was very excited when we got him, but I had no idea he could do this,” Babcock said. “I don’t consider him a college kid. He looks like a Red Wing to me.”
DeKeyser said a couple of his teammates prepped him on what to expect in the postseason -- faster pace, more physical play, every detail analyzed. Others might be surprised by his success, but he said his expectations were high when he signed, and they included the expectation that he would be a contributor in the postseason.
“I try to set high goals for myself. I wasn’t going to be happy coming in and playing one or two games,” he told ESPN The Magazine. “I wanted to exceed that, come in here and have as big an impact as I could.”