How effective were these changes and did they make a difference in the Anaheim Ducks victory Thursday night?
Like Etem, Palmieri is strong on the forecheck, but there’s one notable difference between the two wingers and that is Palmieri’s ability to drive the front of the net.
Etem is strong against the boards, but so far this series hasn’t shown to place himself in front of the net like he needs to.
Meanwhile in Game 3 Palmieri used his speed to get around defenders and drive the front of the net, which is something the Ducks need more of against Jonathan Quick.
Sami Vatanen was put in the lineup to replace Mark Fistric.
Fistric is a big body and a hard hitting defenseman. Vatanen certainly wants to be that kind of defenseman sometimes, but, as fate would have it, isn’t.
Vatanen is a mobile defenseman who can move the puck well, and that became a factor in yesterday’s game.
He was in on the power play in which Anaheim capitalized on both chances. He didn’t get a point on either, but certainly seemed to round out and revitalize the struggling power play unit.
In fact, Vatanen did well enough for Boudreau to say he was “the best player on the ice tonight, for both teams.”
Fredrik Andersen was in net tonight in place of Jonas Hiller which further complicates an already complicated goaltender dilemma in Anaheim.
In these playoffs, I think Boudreau has abandoned all preconceived notions of the No. 1 goaltender for his club.
He starts Andersen in the first series against Dallas then switches over to Hiller for the second series.
Hiller has played strong with a .918 save percentage and a 1.99 goals against average so far this postseason.
Boudreau says he started Andersen because Hiller hadn’t won at the Staples Center, going 0-5-2 over his last seven starts in the building.
This is opposed to Andersen going 2-0-0.
Andersen played strong. He was in good position and made key saves that kept Anaheim in the game.
The only reason he didn’t finish was because of an awkward fall tweaking his right leg.
Boudreau has said time and time again that he feels he can’t go wrong with either goalie. Maybe he’s just trying to prove himself right.
Either way it’s working. Both goalies look sharp and I don’t see an issue with starting either goalie on any given night.
One could say the intention of these switches was to rejuvenate and energize the Ducks, but I don’t think that’s entirely true.
Both teams continued to put forth a strong effort, but this time Anaheim scored more goals.
The Ducks are a deep team and if one cog in the machine isn’t working as efficiently as it should, there’s another one waiting in the rafters ready to get to work.
This is a close series and maybe those little changes make a big difference.
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