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Hiller pulls out the stops in Ducks' 2-1 victory over Chicago

Goaltender protects a one-goal lead by withstanding a 19-2 shot advantage in the third period. The entertaining game also features a near fight between Teemu Selanne and Duncan Keith.

January 02, 2011|By Robyn Norwood
  • Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller makes one of his 21 saves during the game against the Blackhawks on Sunday at the Honda Center.
Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller makes one of his 21 saves during the game against… (Alex Gallardo / Associated…)

It was a game with almost everything, except the captain from either team.

There was Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller, sprawling to stop shots every which way against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

He gloved one in the third period barely in front of the post that maybe, just maybe, he carried over the line in his glove. But it stood, no goal, after a review.

There was a penalty shot by Teemu Selanne that rang off the crossbar. A near fight by Selanne against Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith.

And in the end, a 2-1 victory by the Ducks on Sunday at the Honda Center, their third win in a row since the injury to their captain, Ryan Getzlaf. The Blackhawks, playing without captain Jonathan Toews because of a shoulder injury, have lost two in a row.

"Jonas, this isn't the first time he's stolen a game," Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle said after Hiller protected a one-goal lead by withstanding a 19-2 shot advantage in the third.

"Obviously when you give up 19 shots, the guy had to stand on his head. He made some highlight-reel stops and really saved our butts. What else can you say? The guy was obviously the first star of the hockey game."

None of Hiller's 39 saves felt bigger that the one that maybe wasn't. With 11:49 left, Hiller gloved Jack Skille's potentially game-tying shot from close range at the left corner of the net a split second before it would have crossed the line. Whether momentum carried the puck into the net inside Hiller's glove is the unanswered question. The call on the ice was no goal, and a video review didn't overturn it.

"For me, it never felt like it was going back, but sometimes that happens," Hiller said. "You can't be certain, but when I saw the replay I thought, 'They can't rule it in because you can't see the puck in my glove.'"

Without a conclusive replay, the call on the ice stood.

"It's one of those ones that I'm probably going to be seeing in my dreams tonight and just wishing that I maybe shot it earlier or tried to get it upstairs faster," Skille said.

"He made a great save on me and not only that, Stalberg's last chance there kind of just went off Bolland's stick," Skille added, referring to a shot by Viktor Stalberg that looked headed for the net before it was deflected by Dave Bolland.

The Ducks never trailed against a Blackhawks team that had defeated them twice this season.

Ducks defenseman Andreas Lilja scored his first goal of the season at 10:32 of the first on a slap shot from the right point. Chicago tied the score with 1:52 left in the period when Bryan Bickell got a second-effort shot past Hiller after a sprawling stick save.

Corey Perry scored the final goal for a 2-1 lead 1:46 into the second period, wristing a shot past Corey Crawford from the right side after carrying the puck in from the blue line. The goal was Perry's 21st, tying him for third in the NHL.

The Ducks missed a chance to pad the lead when Selanne hit the crossbar on a penalty shot 4:03 into the third after he was tripped by Patrick Kane on a breakaway.

It was only the sixth penalty-shot — and fifth miss — of Selanne's 1,219-game career, probably because not many players ever caught him from behind.

Selanne looked as if he might drop his gloves against Keith in the third period after Keith slashed at him and knocked him down, but Keith backed away.

"My first year, I think I had 11/2 fights," Selanne said. "It's not my thing. I know I can protect myself."

As they Ducks press on with Getzlaf out with sinus fractures, they're protecting themselves quite well.

Etc.

Center Maxim Lapierre, acquired Friday from Montreal, didn't play because he does not yet have a work visa…. Forward Jason Blake left the game with an unspecified shoulder injury and his status is day-to-day…. Carlyle, on whether he remembered Selanne fighting against anyone Selanne's rookie year in Winnipeg, when they were teammates: "Maybe it would have been his sister."

sports@latimes.com

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