Deslauriers gets his chance as Hiller takes a break
SAN JOSE — Day after day, Jeff Deslauriers put on his equipment and took shot after shot from his Ducks teammates without complaint, even as the chances he actually would face another team hinged on whether iron man Jonas Hiller was unable to play.
But with the Ducks playing on back-to-back nights and nearing elimination from the playoff picture, Deslauriers was called on Monday night to face the San Jose Sharks and finally give Hiller a break after a club-record 32 consecutive starts in goal.
Perhaps channeling his predecessor Randy Carlyle, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau wouldn't reveal who his starting goalie would be in a meeting with the media after the morning skate.
But Boudreau did acknowledge that the option of playing Deslauriers was being seriously considered.
"He'll play before this year is out," Boudreau said. "He's worked too hard in practice and everything else. Hilly's done everything and anything a goaltender can be asked to do. At some point, he's going to get a rest."
As the Ducks were in desperate need of points and rode Hiller through the second half of the season, Deslauriers played in just one game with the club and made a handful of starts with the AHL's Syracuse Crunch so he wouldn't rot on the shelf.
But the good-natured Deslauriers, 27, had full knowledge of what was going on.
"I understood what the situation is obviously with us trying to make the playoffs and Hillsy's been good," he said. "So why change that?"
Deslauriers' only appearance with the Ducks was a nice memory to file away as he made 26 saves while Hiller was out because of a minor knee injury in a 5-2 victory over Dallas on Jan. 10.
Having signed Deslauriers to a two-year contract that turn into a one-way deal for next season, the Ducks should find out what they've got in the netminder as he could be a fallback option as a backup for them if they aren't able to upgrade there through free agency.
Meanwhile, Deslauriers simply said "my dream and my main goal is to play at this level regularly."
"Every team has different situations," said Deslauriers, who has 21 NHL victories over three seasons. "Every coach has his own choices to make. They're qualified to do that. That's why they're there.
"My job is to focus on stopping the puck and be ready for the next game I play. No matter when that next game is going to be, you have to be ready and do everything you can to be sharp at that time."
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