Goaltending Duel Ends in Ducks Favor Against Tampa Bay

After the 5-1 drubbing that the Ducks suffered at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning last week, the Ducks had their sights on evening the score in the Friday night rematch.

The flu was gone and Tampa Bay wished that Ryan Getzlaf was still missing, too.  Getzlaf, who missed the first tilt in Florida with an upper body injury, ended up with the game's only goal with a mere 5.2 seconds remaining in overtime.  It halted Anaheim's five game losing streak. 

This one was a battle of the goaltenders.

Ben Bishop, who is 6'7", fills up a lot of net for Tampa Bay and made 42 saves.  Jonas Hiller, not nearly as huge, refused to be Swiss cheese and stopped all 31 shots for his second shut out of the season.

What made things even more remarkable was that Hiller was supposed to be sitting on the bench.   Instead, Viktor Fasth suffered a lower body injury in warm ups, necessitating Hiller's presence in the goal.

Coach Bruce Boudreau informed Hiller as they were headed out onto the ice.

"I didn't have too much time to think about anything," said Hiller, who looked exceptionally sharp from the time the puck dropped.  "Sometimes, it's almost easier that way.  All your focus is about getting int othe game, making the next stop.  It was great to have some good stops early.  That gave me the confidence and it was good to be in a good goaltending battle."

Good would be an understatement.  Nothing was going to go past either goaltender, despite some excellent chances for both teams. 

"That was probably as good a goaltending display from both goaltenders I've seen in a very long time,"said Boudreau.

When you combine for 73 shots on goal and only one of them goes in, barely, it is superb goaltending.

With neither netminder yielding in the first 60 minutes, the game went to overtime.  Things didn't look any more promising there either, and bets were on for how many rounds a shootout would last between these two goalies.

With the clock winding down, Getzlaf put an end to the double shut-out and took a last ditch shot at the net.   Bishop nearly made the save, reaching behind him with his glove as the puck was on the line, but his own defenseman, Richard Panik, tipped it in with his stick.

To say that the Honda Center went crazy in celebration would be an understatement.  Getzlaf and teammates rejoiced as if they had just won the Stanley Cup.  

"I just knew there wasn’t much time left," said Getzlaf.  "I just wanted to go on one last rush and get one on net.  I ended up getting two cracks at it and managed to get it over the shoulder, and I kind of blacked out after that."

Seeing as it was Getzlaf's first overtime goal of his career, he had a right to black out.

"I didn't think anyone would score on those goalies," said Boudreau.  "Getzy plays hard.  He is the leader.  He logged a lot of minutes tonight (25:04).  It was only right."

Ducks do not get long to enjoy the victory as they turn around and head to Phoenix for the second of back to backs on Saturday night.

In other notes:  Viktor Fasth will be out for 3 – 4 weeks with muscle inflammation.  In his place, Frederik Andersen has been recalled.

About Karen Francis

Just a diehard Ducks fan since 1995, when the team filled the hockey shaped vacuum in my heart.