Five Questions: Ducks' Boudreau Relieved to Move On
NHL.com's weekly Q&A feature called "Five Questions With …" runs every Tuesday. We talk to key figures in the game today and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the latest news.
The latest edition features Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau:
Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau knows which goalie he'll name as the starter for Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round series, but when asked Monday afternoon in a phone interview, he was not ready to reveal his choice between Frederik Andersen and Jonas Hiller.
"We've talked as a coaching and management staff about who is starting," Boudreau told NHL.com. "I will reveal to them, probably [Tuesday], who is going to be starting."
Andersen started all six games in the first round against the Dallas Stars, but Boudreau turned to Hiller to close out Game 6 on Sunday after Andersen gave up four goals on 12 shots through 30:33.
Hiller took over and was perfect against 12 shots, giving the Ducks a chance to mount a comeback for a 5-4 overtime victory.
"We had Mariano Rivera in the bullpen and he came in and picked up the save," Boudreau said of Hiller.
Well, he technically picked up the win, because Ducks forwards Nick Bonino and Devante Smith-Pelly scored empty-net goals in the final 2:10 to force overtime before Bonino won the game 2:47 into the extra session.
It was the latest multi-goal comeback victory in Anaheim's Stanley Cup Playoff history.
While Boudreau wasn't interested in talking about Andersen and Hiller, he was his typical garrulous self when he was asked about the comeback win in Game 6, Bonino's clutch performance, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Anaheim's next opponent and even his old boss.
Here are Five Questions with … Bruce Boudreau:
Can you describe your emotions that you're still feeling from that win the other night? You've had some dramatic comeback wins this season, but to do it in a clinching game, what's still going through your mind about it?
"Well right now I'm still sort of in shock, probably like a lot of the Dallas people are. We were always thinking that there was a chance because they were outplaying us pretty good in the first half of the game, but they didn't pull away. All the games I have watched, if you don't pull away you always believe there's a chance. In today's hockey world, two goal leads are not the safest in the whole world here.
"Prior to the first goal, the one that made it 4-3, we were not generating any offense and it was getting really frustrating on the bench. Then we ended up having what was a 5-on-4, and once we scored that goal you could see the bench go, 'Hey, we can do this, we can do this.' And you could see the other side going, 'Oh no, oh no.' I didn't know if we'd be able to pull it off, but we did. It's the first time I've ever been involved with pulling the goalie twice and scoring twice to tie it. So, I'm sitting in my office now [Monday morning] going, 'Holy smokes, I'm glad we're not playing [Tuesday].'"
You said after the game that Nick Bonino simply just has a knack for playing big in the big moments. What have you found out about Bonino that makes him so clutch?
"Some guys are just on this Earth to be put in situations like this. There was one night earlier this year that he played god awful, and he was the first guy in the shootout. Somebody asked me, 'Why did you put him in the shootout?' I said, 'Well, no matter how bad he plays, there's always the chance that he's the guy that's going to finish it off for you.' So you have faith in him at the end. If he's playing good, bad or indifferent, he finds ways to get it done. And he's found ways to get it done for us quite a few times. Last year, the only overtime game we won, he was the one who scored it. He's one of those guys.
"Darryl Sittler and I played on a summer softball team in Toronto back in the 70s, and it would drive me nuts because every time in the bottom of the ninth with two out, he'd come up to bat with the bases loaded or a chance to knock in the winning run. It was always him, whether he was batting eighth or fourth. Those people, it gets drawn to them and they're the ones that get to finish it off. Bonino has that touch."
"I don't think I learned anything more because I think I knew what they were like, and they did exactly what I thought they would do. They competed. They played through pain. They did what they have to do to win. The fine line between going overboard and doing whatever you have to do to win, both of them, in their own way, managed it and did that.
"Corey took an awful lot of punishment, kept moving forward, never stopped no matter what. Ryan just played through a very tumultuous 10 days both home and here as far as having a baby, the jaw, the puck in the face, other body parts not feeling as good. You just know that if you want to be on the line, you know why they're out there and why they were on Team Canada and seemed to play the most minutes when crunch time came."
If you're going to face Los Angeles, what are the challenges that will keep you up at night?
"Their relentless pressure. I mean, they just keep coming and coming, and their work ethic is tremendous. That keeps me up at night. And their size. And the fact they've been there before. And if it's L.A., they would have come off of winning four in a row against a very good hockey club so their confidence would be so high. And obviously their goaltender (Jonathan Quick) would be playing at his peak, which is always a scary thought."
If you're going to face San Jose, what are the challenges that will keep you up at night?
"It's their awesome skill up front, especially if they're using Joe Pavelski as a third-line center. I mean, I think they're the deepest team in the NHL up front, and they come at you in waves. And how do you combat that. It's not their flat-out speed, even though they've got a lot of guys who can flat-out fly, but it's the way they play fast. That will keep me up at night."
Bonus question: As a former coach of the Washington Capitals, is it tough for you to see the end of the George McPhee era in D.C., especially considering he brought you there and gave you your first break in the NHL?
"It is. It really is. I have the utmost respect for George and I thought he was great for me. I thought we had a really good relationship. I still would like to be able to think that we still do. The one thing I know is he's as organized and complete as a general manager can be. He'll bounce back on his feet whenever he wants to. It's too bad. I know he wanted to win the Cup in a really bad way in Washington, but like me, it's something that's going to happen to him.