The Ducks got back into action after the Olympic break, the last team to do so. It had been nearly three weeks, and seemed like forever. The standing room only crowd was clearly happy to see Ducks hockey again and they were not disappointed.
While it wasn't a pretty game, #1 Anaheim still got the 1-0 shut out against the #2 St. Louis Blues. Jonas Hiller, who was outstanding in net for Switzerland, continued his trend of not allowing goals. He made 18 saves for a league leading fifth shutout. The pipes behind him made a couple of saves as well.
Both teams were so busy hitting everything that moved (or didn't move), they were too busy to get shots on goal. The Blues had 18 and the Ducks had 19. Hits? The Blues had 25 and the Ducks had 35.
"That was some big men hitting each other," said coach Bruce Boudreau, who got his 300th win. "I thought it was a playoff game, not as artistically pretty as some games. Definitely a man's game."
And when everything was over, Anaheim was the last man standing.
Andrew Cogliano was the beneficiary of a Blues turnover and got the only goal behind back up goaltender Brian Elliott at 3:38 of the first period.
Elliott got the nod in net at the last minute because earlier in the day the Blues traded away Jaroslav Halak, who was supposed to start, for Ryan Miller. Fortunately for Anaheim, Miller would not join his new team until Sunday.
Left without a back up goaltender, the Blues signed the Ducks part-time locker room attendant, Jeff Tyni, to a contract. Tyni played on Cal State Fullerton's hockey team and probably never imagined this sort of thing happening to him.
Despite all of the minor distraction of the big trade, the Blues were ready to play. Their best chance to tie up the game came late in the second period. With less than a minute left, Ryan Reaves hit the goal post on one side, then had to watch it skim across the line to hit the other post and then out. Never once going into the goal.
"I always say I'm in good position if it hits the post," said Hiller.
Certainly the post was in the right position.
"We knew we had a great hockey club coming in here," said Hiller. "For being the first game in 20 days, I thought we did a really good job. Everybody really wanted to win tonight. Everybody was sacrificing their bodies tonight. The guys in front of me had more blocked shots than I had saves."
For those of you who are counting, 27 blocked shots to Hiller's 18 saves.
"It was a good first game for us in terms of the competition," said Cogliano. "It was really high-paced. It’s good to jump into a game like that for the first one."
The Ducks remain on top with a 42-14-5 record and for their second post-Olympic effort they will take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday. The Canes will be entering the second of back to back games, having played the Kings on Saturday.
In other notes: Mark Fistric and Nick Bonino returned from injuries suffered before the break. Mathieu Perreault was the sole victim of the hard hitting game, leaving the game early in the third period with what appeared to be an arm injury.