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Game Three Notes: Andersen, Horcoff Draw In For Ducks

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Anaheim makes a pair of lineup moves, hoping to change their fortunes in game three.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

These are desperate times for the Anaheim Ducks, trailing 0-2 in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to the Nashville Predators and facing the next two games in an arena where they are 14-17-2-2 all time in regular season and playoff games.

With Anaheim imploding in game two thanks to Nashville drawing a 5-1 advantage in penalties, and the team having held a lead for all of 11:51 in the series, lineup alterations are in order and have been announced following the team's skate today at Bridgestone Arena. First, the big one:

Frederik Andersen replaces John Gibson between the pipes, after Gibson stopped 54 of the 60 shots he faced through the first two games. Some would point and scream about the .900 save percentage, but an important bit of context is that all five of the even strength goals Gibson has allowed have come from the high danger area directly in front of the net. He's stopped eight other shots from that area, and all 28 from everywhere else at five on five- it's as much defense as it's the goaltending.

That said, Andersen has a 4-1-0 record against the Predators in his career with a .913 SV%. For his playoff career he's 14-7 with a .909 SV%, though removing the last four games (where again much of the issue was defense) against Chicago from last year's Western Conference Final his numbers jump to a .922 SV%. Also, considering he went 17-1-2 over his final 22 appearances this season while posting a .924 SV%, it's a shot that he deserves considering his play this season.

This was an interesting bit of coach speak jiu-jitsu from head coach Bruce Boudreau. While it's true that it keeps in pattern with the rotation the team was working during the regular season, that pattern was broken with Gibson getting the game one start instead of Andersen following the regular season ending shutout. It's a smart way to avoid deeper evaluation of Gibson's play, but at the same time also begs the question at whether the rotation will be a consideration depending on results in Nashville.

The additional lineup move switches out one of the bottom six forwards:

The 15-year veteran Shawn Horcoff will make just the 42nd playoff appearance of his career in replacing Chris Wagner, but he was extremely effective for Dallas in his last showing back in 13-14. Horcoff had a goal and five assists in a lower line role against the Ducks, but while his role won't be a scoring one, it will add over 1000 games of regular season NHL experience to the lineup. Horcoff's most significant stretch of playoff experience came on the 2006 Western Conference Champion Edmonton team that eliminated Detroit in six games, San Jose in six, and Anaheim in five before falling in seven games to Carolina; he had seven goals and 12 assists in the 24 game run a decade ago.