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Photo Credit: © Tom Szczerbowski | USA Today

Andersen has stepped up his play this series

It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago, we were hard pressed for a decent goaltender to help us get to the playoffs. I love James Reimer as much as the next guy (probably more), but when he’s the best goalie that’s been between the Leafs pipes, that means you’ve had goalie problems.

That’s why Frederik Andersen has been such a blessing for the Leafs. Not only is he a capable goalie, but he’s very consistent, aside from that one month a year that he struggles (but that comes with most goalie). That’s why he’s got the nickname Steady Freddy, or even FredEx. When he’s in the net, you know he’ll deliver a good performance.

But, the postseason hasn’t been overly kind to Freddie during his time as a Leaf. His .915 save percentage in 2017 was about what we’d expect from him, but his .896 last season against Boston was the worst of his playoff career, and a huge red flag for Leafs fans going into this series.

In fact, it could be argued that how bad he was played a huge role in the eventual loss to the Bruins last year. So, it makes sense that, despite his consistent play, there was some concern about his play going into this series, especially since his work load wasn’t really brought down much this year either.

But, much like his regular season, Freddie has come to play, and put up some impressive numbers so far, and he’s been really consistent, aside from Game 5.

And it’s not just his boxcar stats, his advanced stats look equally as impressive, especially compared to years past.

His 5v5 dSv% ranks sixth amongst starting goalies in the playoffs, and is the polar opposite of his performance last season, and his 5v5 GSAA ranks fourth among that same group. Not only has been good, he’s been one of the better ones in these playoffs, and at the very least, he’s given his team a chance to win every night.

It doesn’t help the Leafs case that the opposing goalie, Tuukka Rask, hasn’t been too much worse. His 0.83% dSv% and his 1.33 GSAA both rank eighth in their respective categories, so he hasn’t been a world beater, but he’s been alright, enough to win the Bruins the odd game.

But, if I had to pick one of the two to start game seven, it’s Freddie. Especially when he’s making saves like this

or this

and especially this

Win or lose tomorrow, Freddie has been far from the problem, so let’s see if the team can show up in front of him this time for the full 60 minutes.