Hey, Rook… Stop the Puck!

So the veteran on the Dallas bench looks at the goalie and says, “Hey Rook. Just stop a couple for us, will ya?” Coming into Sunday evening when they were in Anaheim, nobody in their nets had done a great job of that.

And Jack Campbell goes out and lets in a goal at 2:38 of period one of his first game. If there was any good news, it was that the tally came off the stick of one of the all-time great players in the league, Teemu Selanne, and it was the patented wrister that rose up above the goalie’s glove to the right side of the net.

On the other end of the ice, Jonas Hiller was making a stinkpile of the Anaheim game. Three goals got by him in the first period, two of which were bad ones. Thus by the end of the first period in Anaheim, the Ducks were down by a pair to a newbie in the other net, whose thought process must have been something like, “OK, so now I’m settled in and up 3-1. This NHL gig ain’t bad.”

And so in the Anaheim room between the first a second periods, guess what was said?

“Hey, Rook. Just stop a couple for us, will ya?”

That’s right. Two goalies made their NHL debut in the same game, an occurrence which hasn’t happened since October of 2005. It’s just that Frederick Andersen’s debut for the Ducks didn’t come off the opening faceoff of the first period, but the one for the second.

For Andersen, it was a long time coming. He’s 24, and he was drafted twice. Here’s the story: The Hurricanes grabbed him in the 2010 draft, but he didn’t sign with the team. Instead, he played in Denmark, his home country, then played with the Swedish Elite League team Frolunda HC in 2011-12. He then went back into the draft in 2012 and was grabbed by Anaheim. He spent his first year as a North American pro in the AHL with Norfolk, seeing action in 47 games and posting a record of 24-18-1.

His early pro career had him doing some special things as well, with two shutouts, and an insane .954 save percentage, and a league-leading (for goalies) five assists. Andersen is a big dude, at 6’4” and 230 pounds, which is the size that goalies are these days, at least the young ones. Funny that Carolina wasn’t able to get him under contract.

About coming into his first NHL game last-minute, he said, “You don’t have that pressure to prepare that much. It doesn’t happen that often, but you’ve got to be ready in a different way, to turn on that switch pretty quick and get ready.”

Sunday night, for a while, after Andersen came in, he was not going to figure in the outcome of the game, statistically, but then the Ducks scored a couple of goals in his behalf, and it was 3-3. In other words, it might as well have been 0-0, with the two first-time NHLers faced each other with the chance of taking home a victory, or starting their careers with a loss. It’s a zero-sum game, after all. Before things were over, Anaheim would put five more past Campbell, their output over eight games a tie, at 29, with the previous club record.

Neither goalie, in fact, must have been happy with the helium pucks that the NHL seemed to be using on this night. Why helium? Because it seemed like almost every goal was scored with a puck that floated. Witness the first one on Hiller. The Dallas player went down the left side and fired. The puck rose. Hiller’s arms were up in scarecrow pose. The puck went in past his ear.

The third Dallas goal came when the puck was passed to the front of the net and Shawn Horcoff floated a redirect which blooped past the left leg of Hiller.

In the second period, Getzlaf threw the puck to center to Perry, who redirected it somehow up and past his body and in. Then Fowler wristed a puck to the net, where Perry faced the blueline. He directed the puck up and over the goalie.

Emerson Etem got in on the fun with his first goal of the year and first-ever shorthanded goal. It was thrown to the front of the net by Cogliano, and Etem then redirected it, once more up and over the goalie.

The Ducks would score two more en route to their 6-3 win. Their netminder would stop 24 shots, with Dallas putting exactly twelve on net each of the three frames. The Dallas goalie faced 47, of which he obviously got 41. The largest outpouring was in period two, at 23 shots for the Ducks. It was more by one than the team had ever fired off in a second period. The prior record had been posted three separate times.

Andersen elaborated on his start by saying, “When there’s a couple of goals in the first period you have to be ready and to start preparing yourself mentally. I didn’t want to [do] anything that I haven’t done before, just be myself and play that way. I feel like I’m a calm guy, so I didn’t do anything different than I normally do.”

He said that he got the word as the team was coming off the ice at the end of period one, so that gave him about fifteen minutes to get ready.

Whatever he did to prepare, he did it well. He now takes a 1-0 record on the road. No word on whether Fasth is going to travel, but I saw him coming out of the locker room after the game looking tanned and not limping or showing outward signs of his lower-body malady, whatever it is.

Ducks Notes

The team now goes on the road for eight games, starting in Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa. Some vacation.

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