This never gets Auld

TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:35 PM ET


 It was a moment Alex Auld will never forget.

 Even if it fell short of a spectacular save or one goaltending's greatest grab jobs.

 "I'm not going to stand here and say I robbed him," said Auld, recalling a Jan. 3 stop of Jarome Iginla on a penalty shot at the Saddledome that helped preserve a 3-1 victory for his visiting Vancouver Canucks.

 "He kind of lost the puck. He's a great player with a great shot. It was definitely a big moment in a young career. Later, you look back and maybe realize the importance or the specialness of it. But at the same time, you just hope you have many more moments like that and you come out on the right end of them."

 Never know, Alex.

 Another opportunity could be just an injury away.

 Indeed, the Canucks goaltender of the future could be called on to make more pressure saves before his team's quarter-final series against the Calgary Flames is over.

 Auld, after all, is now backing up Johan Hedberg following the suspected knee injury to starter Dan Cloutier in Game 3.

 "You gotta be ready every night," said the 23-year-old Auld, a 6-ft., 4-in., 200-lb. native of Thunder Bay, Ont.

 "Because like you saw the other night, you even gotta be ready when you're eating popcorn in the press box.

 "It's obviously unfortunate for the team but it's obviously a little exciting for me.

 "It's kinda like getting put in off the bench -- you don't have time to think about it.

 "I came down and I was in such a rush to get dressed, there was really no feelings at all until I got on the bench.

 "Then it was pretty neat to be down there.

 "Sitting up top, you see the crowd and the atmosphere.

 "But when on the ice and on the bench, it's all directed toward the ice and the benches and you feel it a lot more."

 Auld could be feeling actual game rubber before long.

 Hedberg played erratically this season and he's been prone to injury, having been in and out of the lineup a handful of times.

 That's exactly how Auld made appearances in six games during the regular season, when he posted sparkling statistics -- a 2.02 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage.

 Among his two wins was the victory in Calgary, where he stopped Iginla on the free dash.

 "I thought it was pretty loud in there then. I thought that was the loudest I'd ever here the Saddledome," Auld said.

 "But it was louder in here the other night (for the playoffs)."

 Not that it would be anything new to him. Auld did, in fact, get into one post-season game for the Canucks last spring.

 "I think I can draw on my experience from last year. I backed up all 14 playoff games last year and I think I learned a lot. I played only 20 minutes but you still get to see what this hockey is all about firsthand.

 "I think any experience you have at this level, you draw on it. Whether it's last year's playoffs or any regular season, just know what I can do and have confidence in that," added Auld.

 "The guys have been great when I've been here and that's important because it's allowed me to be a part of the team."


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