Toronto’s Frederik Andersen carried one of the heaviest workloads of any goaltender in the regular season.
He still wants extra ice time to prepare for the Maple Leafs’ first-round playoff matchup with Boston.
“I guess I’m a bit of a perfectionist, small things in details,” said Andersen, who will square off against Tuukka Rask and the Bruins in Game 1 on Thursday in Boston.
The 28-year-old finished first in shots faced (2,211), second in starts (66) and third in minutes played (3,888:31). But he says energy isn’t an issue, and that the best way to prepare for the Bruins is to keep ironing out the wrinkles with more reps alongside goaltender coach Steve Briere.
“We work on everything that’s important,” said Andersen.”Steve’s always working and doing his homework? He’s really good at looking at what you could possibly be facing in the playoffs and shots with screens and heavy traffic is one of those (situations).”
Andersen had large stretches of strong play in 2017-18, showing the potential to steal games when he went 9-2-1 with a 2.14 goals-against average, .938 save percentage and two shutouts in the month of November. He went on to set a team record for wins in a single season with 38, and believes success comes down to composure as much as the extra ice sessions.
Especially in the playoffs, when a goalie can be the difference in advancing or going home.
“You have to try and manage (pressure) because everyone’s so excited,” said Andersen.
“It’s important to be even keel and focus on what I focus on. As a player you have adrenalin going and you can maybe play off that, make a big hit or something. But you can’t do that as a goalie. I have to be focused for the brand new situation. That’s how I look at it, a save or a goal against you want to be the same state of mind.”
Forward Nazem Kadri says Andersen’s calmness helps players if they make a mistake in front of the net.
“You can never tell when he’s really excited or really frustrated,” said Kadri. “He’s very level-headed, he’s composed. He does a really good job of keeping his emotions in check.”
Andersen did show some emotion after a loss in January against Philadelphia, Toronto’s fourth in a row at the time, by questioning his teammates’ attitudes. Kadri says they listened because Andersen meant his words.
Toronto went 24-9-2 the rest of the way.
“I think it resonated with everybody,” said Kadri. “When he did that we just tried to improve and collectively talk about it.
“I think we’ve come a long way since then.”
Andersen went 38-21-5 with a 2.81 goals-against average and .918 save percentage this season while Rask was 34-14-5 with a 2.36 GAA and .917 save percentage. Andersen was the much busier of the two, making 12 more starts and facing almost 700 more shots than his Finnish counterpart.
The Leafs netminder has had Boston’s number throughout his career, winning 10 of 11 starts against the Bruins.
Still, he said that all the regular-season accomplishments are quickly forgotten in the spring.
“I don’t put any stock into that, it is what it is,” said Andersen. “Means absolutely nothing right now. That’s the fun part of playoff hockey … it starts all over.”