ANAHEIM – For the second game in a row, goalie Jonas Hiller affirmed the faith the Ducks put in him.
After signing a four-year contract extension last Saturday, and seeing his one-time contender for the No. 1 job traded away the next day, Hiller again was brilliant in backstopping the Ducks to a crucial 3-1 victory over the visiting Red Wings.
The Swiss netminder's season-high 46 saves gave the Ducks a ninth straight win at Honda Center in their first game in their home rink in nearly two weeks.
"It’s fun to play if you get a lot of shots, but it’s also a little tiring," Hiller said. "We found a way to win tonight."
Hiller was just one game removed from his second shutout of the year, at Florida two nights ago, which salvaged a 3-3 road trip for Anaheim.
Anaheim's home streak now includes two wins over Detroit, whose lead over the Ducks for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference was cut to just three points in the win. The Wings were coming off a 4-2 victory in San Jose just a night ago.
"They are a great team no matter where they are at in the standings," said forward Jason Blake, playing his second game with the Ducks after coming over in a trade that sent J.S. Giguere to Toronto. "They always seem to be in the thick of things all year long. It was a great night by our goaltender. He played outstanding. It was a great team effort. That is all you can ask for."
Anaheim never trailed in the game, jumping in front just 1:11 after the opening draw when Ryan Whitney fired a wrist shot from the point that sailed by a Bobby Ryan screen and got past goalie Jimmy Howard.
"We had a good start and that gave us a lot of confidence," Hiller said.
Kyle Chipchura doubled the lead with an unorthodox goal with 3:47 left in the period, as Steve Eminger fired a shot from the blue line and it deflected off Chipchura’s body just inside the post. (A video replay confirmed it was a good goal.)
Ryan made it 3-0 Ducks midway through the second period, getting a second chance after whiffing on a shot at the top of the crease. The puck slid to Ryan Getzlaf in the circle, and he quickly returned a pass to Ryan, who slung it around Pavel Datsyuk and off the twine.
Detroit clawed back on its third power play opportunity of the period, as Datsyuk got behind the defense and roofed a shot past Hiller. It was retribution for Datsyuk, who was robbed early in the period on a breakaway as Hiller made a glorious glove save.
Datsyuk’s goal broke a career-long shutout streak of 155 minutes, three seconds for Hiller that dated back to two games ago in Tampa Bay.
But that was the extent of Detroit's damage, as Hiller helped maintain the lead by saving all 16 Red Wings shots in the final period.
"We gave ourselves a good start and built on that," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "We did a lot of things that we needed to. It’s all about getting points right now. We understand the situation we’re in. We’re looking up at a few teams. We’d like to climb into that other group to give ourselves a chance."
Anaheim turns around and plays another big one tomorrow night in L.A. against the rival Kings.
"The whole team is playing really well defensively,: Hiller said. "Even if I have rebounds, we’re clearing them. Everybody is fighting hard, blocking shots and doing everything back there. I hope we can keep it on ... We have another really important coming up tomorrow."
The Ducks have won three straight games overall and are 11-4-0 in the last 15.
The club now has a nine-game win streak at HOME, Anaheim’s longest since a club-record 10-game streak from Feb. 17-Mar. 26, 2008. The streak also equals the second-longest in the NHL this season (Phoenix 10, Washington 9) and equals the longest CURRENT streak (Washington). The Ducks have picked up points at home in 10 straight (9-0-1), 14 of the last 15 (12-1-2) and 17 of 19 (15-2-2).
Anaheim has won two straight contests at HOME vs. Detroit and three of the last four at Honda Center against the Red Wings (3-1-0). The club has gone 9-3-1 vs. the Red Wings dating back to Mar. 9, 2003.
Pavel Datsyuk’s goal at 19:50 of the second period snapped Jonas Hiller’s shutout streak at 155:03 dating to the first period of Anaheim’s Jan. 29 contest at Tampa Bay (Martin St. Louis). The shutout streak is the longest of Hiller’s career (includes regular season and playoffs).
Hiller has won three straight starts, stopping 109-of-111 shots for a .982 SV% and 0.65 GAA (2 GA/185 MIN) during that span. He stopped a season-high 46-of-47 shots tonight vs. Detroit. In the last 14 games, he has gone 11-3-0 with a .935 SV% (417-of-446) and 2.12 GAA (29 GA/820 MIN) during that span. In his last 22 appearances, Hiller has compiled a 16-6-0 mark with a 2.24 GAA (48 GA/1288 MIN) and .932 SV% (658-of-706).
With an assist tonight, Corey Perry has points in six straight at HOME (2-4=6).
Ryan Getzlaf (0-2=2 tonight) has earned points in 11 of the last 12 HOME games (5-10=15) he’s played in. He’s also collected points in three straight games (1-4=5).
Bobby Ryan has earned points in eight of the last nine contests at HOME (7-6=13). His 25 goals on the season co-lead the league among US-born players (NJ’s Parise).
Tonight’s attendance was 15,180.
20:00 - END OF GAME - The Ducks protect that two-goal lead the entire 20 minutes and pull off a huge 3-1 victory.
19:10 - Hiller another couple of stops.
18:50 - Howard to the bench for an extra skater.
The attendent just turned out the light in the press box drink refrigerator. I'm trying to decide if that's a metaphor.
17:31 - Hiller with his 42nd stop, on Stuart with Bertuzzi all over him.
16:47 - Ryan cuts to the middle and send it off the Howard leg pad.
14:29 - Hiller's 40th save of the game is perhaps his easiest, on a token shot from the perimeter.
13:43 - Perry dumps the puck into the corner, and it takes that kick again, bouncing into the crease and nearly getting by Howard.
During the timeout, techno music, and the camera goes to the dancing guy again, but he's too busy getting ready to eat. Sad.
11:45 - Hiller with a sick kick save off a one-timer from in deep by Filppula, then he makes another great stop on the rebound.
10:31 - Koivu nearly gets one on a one-timer off a pass from his countrymate. And I don't mean Nokelainen.
9:10 - Bodie nicely uses the body to try and spin around a Detroit defender, but fires wide.
7:30 - Perry crashes the net on the rush, denied by Howard.
4:43 - Perry ends up with it in the paint, but can't flip it over Howard.
3:17 - Getzlaf is seemingly robbed by a Howard glove save, but the shot was going wide anyway.
3:02 - DET Penalty - Derek Meech, 2 min. delay of game. Meech tries to sweep it out of the zone, but sends it over the glass.
0:00 -Off and running.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Anaheim gets one from Ryan, but gives up its first of the game to take a 3-1 lead into the break.
19:50 - DETROIT GOAL (POWER PLAY) - The Ducks finally get bitten on the penalty kill, as Datsyuk gets the puck ahead of everyone but Wisniewski, but quickly ditches the Ducks defenseman before moving to the forehand and roofing it. First goal on Hiller since the first period two games ago in Tampa Bay (shutout streak of 155:03) and the Ducks lead is cut to 3-1.
19:28 - ANA Penalty - Saku Koivu, 2 min. hooking. Third Anaheim penalty in the period.
18:30 - Niedermayer and Wiz battle hard in the corner and the puck comes out to the Ducks.
17:07 - Blake nearly gets his first as a Duck, slinging a one-timer off a Koivu pass into Howard.
15:38 - A puck is fired into the Anaheim bench, right at Justin Pogge's head. Welcome to the show, kid.
For some reason, I cannot open a water bottle in this press box without spilling some of it. Seriously, every time. Just mentioning.
13:48 - Selanne gets shoved from behind into the net as a centering pass it just out of his reach. That's got to be a foul. Nevermind.
During the timeout, a dude in a plaid shirt is on camera dancing rather passionately to some Michael Jackson. Ballsy ... and slightly uncomfortable.
8:55 - ANAHEIM GOAL - BOBBY RYAN - Ryan whiffs on a one-timer aet the top of the crease, but quickly gets a second chance. Getzlaf gets it in the circle and gets it right back to Ryan, who this time bats it around Datsyuk and off the twine. It's 3-0 Ducks on Ryan's 25th of the year.
8:25 - Kick save Hiller and another stop as Drew Miller tries to follow. Six more gray hairs for Miller.
7:22 - Hiller does it again, denying Eaves as he tries to bat in a bouncing puck.
6:47 - Another Great kill for Anaheim.
6:25 - Slightly scary moment in a crowd around Hiller, but the puck is kicked out of there.
4:47 - ANA Penalty - Teemu Selanne, 2 min. high sticking. Selanne, who should be sensitive to such things, gets Stuart in the face.
4:15 - Brown thrown hard into the wall by Patrick Eaves.
3:00 - Hiller again stands strong as Holmstrom makes a bid while hovering over him.
2:41 - Kill. Taco.
1:46 - Hiller with a ridiculous glove stop with flair after Datsyuk manages to split the defenders at the blue line and gets on a partial breakaway. Hiller goes to the splits after snatching the puck out of the air and the crowd approves.
1:19 - Hiller takes a Justin Williams try in the gut and holds on.
0:41 - ANA Penalty - Kyle Chipchura, 2 min. hooking. Chipchura hooks Datsyuk on the rush. First minor for Anaheim.
0:00 - Here we go in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - It's a good one for Anaheim, which goes up 2-0 on goals by Whitney and Chipchura.
18:50 - After a Detroit defender slips, Getzlaf has Howard down, but doesn't take the shot. He instead makes a drop pass that's taken away.
18:12 - Slap shot on the move by Selanne is corralled by Howard.
18:05 - Helm nearly gets one shorthanded, but Hiller stops.
17:50 - DET Penalty - Brad Stuart, 2 min. hooking. Stuart wraps the blade around Ryan as Ryan tries to chase the puck along the wall.
17:08 - Blake with a nice pass across the ice to give Festerling an open point shot. It hits off Howard and drops to the ice, where Koivu just misses punching it under.
16:13 - ANAHEIM GOAL - KYLE CHIPCHURA - Eminger holds the puck at the point and fires a wrist shot into traffic, where it hits high off Chipchura's body and caroms just inside the right post. Howard immediately objects to the goal, and all four officials come together to discuss it and then go to the replay to see exactly how Chipchura scored it. Replays show it simply deflected off his side and it's a good goal. Ducks lead 2-0.
15:30 - Ryan with a nice backcheck to thwart a Detroit rush.
It's trivia time, and In honor of the Walk for Kids for Ronald McDonald House (all Power Players are wearing t-shirt, our guys is asked how many miles are in a 5K. He guesses C) 3.1 and he's ... eh, Google it to find out.
13:00 - Good play by the fourth line of Brown, Carter and Beleskey, keeping the puck in the Detroit end and getting off about four shots.
12:35 - Stuart briefly has a look at a shot, but Scott Niedermayer pokes the puck away, his heart rate not moving one bit.
12:03 - Bad turnover by Eminger, but Hiller bails him out with a stop on Zetterberg.
8:55 - Whitney fires again from the blue line, just knocked away.
8:03 - Timeout Detroit. Something tells me Babcock isn't all that pleased.
7:45 - A puck fluttering in the air above the painted area is just batted away by Stuart.
7:19 - Blake with a near miss trying to tap in a bouncing just outside the crease. First home game for the new Duck and first time wearing 33.
6:20 - Getzy from Perry on the rush, fired over the net.
5:10 - Beleskey out on the ice after getting the call-up this morning.
4:06 - Not long after Chipchura is driven into the glass, Bodie drops the gloves with Ericsson. A couple of jabs land before Bodie is driven down to one knee, but he throws a reversal on Ericsson and slings him to the ice. Not a bad fighter, that Bodie. They both sit for 5.
3:05 - Hiller with two big stops on point blank tries by Bertuzzi. Wow.
1:11 - ANAHEIM GOAL - RYAN WHITNEY - After taking a pass from Ryan Getzlaf at the point, Whitney measures and fires a wrist shot that sails past a cruising-by Bobby Ryan and gets past goalie Jimmy Howard. Ducks lead it early.
0:50 - A Perry giveaway gives an open shot to Bertuzzi, but it's off Hiller's shoulder.
0:00 - And we're underway, Ducks-Red Wings. How do you not get up for this one?
7:07 p.m. - Country singer Riley Weston (here's her website) delivers the anthem behind what looked like A LOT of hair. Starters in bold/italics. Scratches crossed out.