ANAHEIM -- Frederik Andersen is a rookie no more.
OK, officially he still is, but the young goalie for the Anaheim Ducks looked and played like a seasoned veteran Wednesday night, stopping 32 shots in his first NHL playoff appearance to help the top-seeded Ducks to a 4-3 win over the Dallas Stars in Game 1 of their Western Conference quarterfinal.
Andersen, the first Danish goalie to appear in an NHL playoff game, earned the start over veteran Jonas Hiller and fellow rookie John Gibson with consistently stellar play while compiling a 20-5 record during the regular season.
Andersen said he never felt nervous playing in such a big game at Honda Center, even when the Stars turned a four-goal deficit midway through the second period into a one-goal disadvantage with about six minutes left in the game.
"You can’t let nervousness get to you," Andersen said. "You’re [in trouble] when you do that."
His teammates have been impressed by Andersen ever since he beat the Stars in his NHL debut back in October, but they saw him take his coolness to another level as he took the ice Wednesday.
“It’s really good for a young goalie to get out there and play his first playoff game and be so relaxed in net," Ducks forward Patrick Maroon said.
When the Stars scored two goals about 90 seconds apart late in the second period to cut the four-goal lead in half, Andersen didn’t seem to bat an eye as he turned away Jamie Benn on the doorstep with 40 seconds remaining in the period.
"He made some big saves at crucial times," Ducks winger Corey Perry said. "When he’s standing tall and playing big, that’s when he’s at his best.”
The Ducks missed a golden opportunity to retake a three-goal lead early in the third when Teemu Selanne stole the puck behind the net from Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen and fed Maroon in front, but he missed the net. Not long after, the Stars pulled within one on a goal by Tyler Seguin, drowning out the excitement inside the arena.
But the Ducks could still count on Andersen, who came up with two big saves in the final 2½ minutes, the last with the Dallas goalie pulled from net.
"That’s what happens when you go down 4-0, the coach probably told them how they were playing," Andersen said. "I think it’s a good lesson [for us], playing with a lead. Good thing we won anyway."
The Ducks had two players leave the ice with injuries, including captain Ryan Getzlaf, who was hit in the face with a slap shot by Seguin with 16 seconds left in the game. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said Getzlaf would need stitches near the corner of his mouth, but expects him to return for Game 2 on Friday.
Anaheim left wing Matt Beleskey, who also had a goal and an assist in the opener, left in the third period with a lower-body injury and did not return.