Getting the Point
Friday, 01.13.2012 / 7:28 AM PT
Jonas Hiller, who came out of Sunday's win over Columbus and missed all of Tuesday's win over Dallas with an injury, wasn't supposed to start against the Flames last night. Bruce Boudreau had indicated after the morning skate that Hiller was healthy enough to return, but would back up Jeff Deslauriers. But there was Hiller in his net when the Ducks came out for the anthem, and it's a good thing too.
He was spectacular in net all night, as the Ducks made things a little easier on him by giving up only 19 shots (just six in the first 40 minutes). But it was the 19th that would bite them, 1:51 into overtime, as Blair Jones' first shot was denied by Hiller, but Jones was able to scoop in the rebound for the game-winner.
At the other end of the rink, longtime Ducks nemesis Miikka Kiprusoff was sharp yet again, shutting out a Ducks team that had scored 16 times in the previous three games. Kipper saved all 23 Anaheim bids, and two potential Ducks goals were cancelled by replay review. The first came late in the first period when it confirmed that Rod Pelley kicked the puck into the net. Then halfway through the third, Kiprusoff stuck out his leg pad to stop a Niklas Hagman try, and his momentum carried him into the net. Unfortunately for the Ducks, there was nothing on the replay that conclusively proved the disc went over the stripe.
"It's a game of inches," Bruce Boudreau said. "It could have gone either way. We didn't win it. We got a point but at this stage of the game, I think we need two."
It's true, but the Ducks (whose three-game win streak was snapped) can take some solace in the fact that came away with a point against a Flames team that is now 10-0-1 in their last 11 at home, and have now won eight straight there for the first time in five years.
"I felt we played well enough to get two points," said Saku Koivu. "We got one, but when you look at our situation, and where we are, in games likes this we can't afford to lose that one point. We've got to get that extra one."
The Ducks turn right around and will try to get those two points tonight in Edmonton, where the Oilers had a great start to the season but have dropped 22 of their last 30. They sit just above the Ducks in 13th place in the West, partly because of injury issues. Their top two scorers -- Jordan Eberle (knee) and super-rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (shoulder) -- are both out tonight. They are also without defensemen Ryan Whitney, Cam Barker and Tom Gilbert, who are all out with ankle injuries, interestingly enough. (Well, interesting to everyone but the Oilers.)
"The wins on the road have been really tough for us," Koivu said. "We were able to keep them under 15 shots throughout almost the whole game. We did a lot of good things out there. You're trying to build on things with things like this and games like this and grab all the positives for tomorrow's game and then hopefully get the win."
Like with Calgary last night, it's the first time the Ducks and Oilers have faced off this season. The Ducks won three of the four matchups last season, and have taken seven straight at Rexall Place. Jeff Deslauriers could return to the net tonight, against and Oilers team he played with from 2008 through 2010.