For the second game in a row, the Ducks managed to keep their opponent off the scoreboard. While they routed the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-0 on Friday, it was a simpler 1-0 affair against the San Jose Sharks.
Jonas Hiller now has his fourth shut out of the year and he has never had consecutive shutouts. The last time the Ducks held opponents scoreless for two games in a row or more was December 8 – 15, 2002. Jean-Sebastien Giguere was in goal for that sequence of three shut outs in a row. Will Hiller match that by shutting out the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday?
Certainly things are rolling for the Ducks right now. Having won four out of five at home during this homestand, the Ducks are earning points and staying in the thick of things in the playoff race. With 50 points, the Ducks are in fifth place and are three points ahead of the Sharks, Coyotes and Kings in the standings. They trail only Dallas in the Pacific Division by five points.
It took until the second period, but the Ducks finally made it on the scoreboard at 14:29. Bobby Ryan got the puck through traffic and behind Antti Niemi during a nice push by the Ducks. That was sufficient for the win, but not the cushion that they had in the last
“Their defenseman made a good play and followed me,” Ryan said. “I kept trying to wait for him to stop and he never did. So finally I hit the brakes. There was so much traffic in front, Lupul and McMillan were creating a stir, so I just tried to put it through. They haven’t found holes in the past month. I’m glad they are finding them right now and I’ll try to continue to do it.”
The Sharks outshot the Ducks 37 – 28, so Hiller had the bulk of the work. Hiller continued to be in the zone and has not let in a goal since 3:56 of the second period in the game against Nashville last Wednesday.
“We didn’t score as many goals as the last one and I absolutely did not want to get scored on,” commented Hiller. “It worked out well again. I think everybody feels good out there and so do I. We had a great team effort. It was just a 1-0 game, but we created lots of chances and played a lot in their zone, especially in the third.”
Hiller’s performance continues to garner him notice and he could very easily be named as an All Star for later this month. Hiller acknowledged that if he gets the nod it would be a “big honor.”
Coach Randy Carlyle acknowledged his team’s work of late.
“The games have been emotional,” said Carlyle. “These are hard-fought games. There is not a lot of space on the ice. You have to compete for your space. Situations we’ve been presented with, we’ve shown a lot of battle.”
Next battle is St. Louis on Wednesday, with two days off to rest, recover and gear up for another tough opponent.