Three weeks ago, John Gibson was the starting netminder in the AHL for the Norfolk Admirals.
Today, he could be playing himself into being the starting netminder in the playoffs.
Not for the Admirals, but the Anaheim Ducks.
Two games into his young career, Gibson has been superb. In his first career start in Vancouver, he posted a shutout as the Ducks inched closer to the Pacific Division crown.
On Wednesday night, Gibson got the nod over incumbent starter Jonas Hiller in the biggest game of the season against the San Jose Sharks. The 20 year-old showed no signs of being intimidated as the young American stopped 36 of the 38 shots he faced en route to a second consecutive Pacific Division title for Anaheim.
It has only been two games, but has Gibson played well enough to earn a spot on the playoff roster?
Better yet, could Gibson be Bruce Boudreau‘s No. 1 guy come next week?
It sounds unlikely, but how often have we seen a hot goaltender carry a team deep into the postseason?
Jean-Sebastien Giguere anyone?
Dwayne Roloson, current Ducks goaltending coach, anyone?
Boudreau has some tough choices to make in the next week. His current No .1, Hiller, has struggled mightily as of late. After a 14-game winning streak earlier in the season, Hiller has stumbled with a 4-4-3 record since to the Olympic break while also allowing three or more goals in seven of those starts.
Meanwhile during Hiller’s rough patch, rookie Frederik Andersen has done an admirable job. He’s 5-2 since the break and was stellar in the Ducks’ win over the Los Angeles Kings back on Mar. 15, posting 37 saves on 38 shots.
Andersen has found himself scratched the past few games due to an injury suffered from a slap shot to the mask against the Nashville Predators last Friday. Despite the injury, Andersen has resumed practicing and working out with the team.
Had Andersen been healthy all this time, he would have started the clincher last night against the Sharks. But instead of sending out Hiller in place of Andersen, Boudreau went with Gibson.
What does that tell you?
In a crucial game, in a playoff atmosphere, against a team desperate for a win, the head man sent out his rookie that would only be making his second career start.
The head man was rewarded with that decision.
It will be interesting to see who mans the pipes in Los Angeles on Saturday and back home in the season finale against Colorado, but how can you not stay with the hot hand and ride it all the way through the postseason?
This time of year is all about who is hot and who is not.
Right now, Gibson is hot. And so are the Ducks.
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