While Jonas Hiller continues to shine in goal, the Anaheim
Ducks’ offense has yet to get going.
Picking up the pace could prove difficult without injured left
wing Jason Blake.
Seeking a third consecutive win, Anaheim looks to continue its
home domination of the St. Louis Blues on Sunday night.
Since kicking off their season with a 4-1 loss to Buffalo in
Helsinki, the Ducks (2-1-0) have won two straight due in large part
to Hiller’s stellar play.
After making 14 saves in a 2-1 shootout win over the New York
Rangers last Saturday in Stockholm, Hiller stopped all 31 shots for
his 12th career shutout during Friday’s 1-0 victory over San
Hiller, who missed nearly all of the second half of 2010-11
because of vertigo, seems to have recaptured the form that made him
an All Star last season.
“I worked real hard to be where I am now. I know it didn’t come
back to me for free, so I know I have to keep working,” he
“I want to make a statement every night, no matter what happened
last year. It’s nice to get these games and feel good out there.
Goaltending is a lot about confidence, and it’s easier to be
playing well if you start a season with these kinds of games.”
Hiller’s efforts have helped Anaheim overcome a lack of
offensive production – the Ducks’ top two lines have both failed to
tally a point this season.
Things aren’t about to get any easier with Blake, who skated
alongside center Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne on Anaheim’s second
line, expected to miss three months with tendon damage in his left
Blake, who had yet to tally a point this season but had 32 in
2010-11 and currently leads the team with 11 shots on goal, was
accidentally cut just above his wrist Friday by Sharks defenseman
Brent Burns’ skate. The accident occurred after Blake fell down
while trying to play the puck out of a faceoff.
“This was an unfortunate, freak accident, but we are pleased to
hear that Jason is expected to make a full and complete recovery,”
Ducks general manager Bob Murray said. “He’s a real character
person and teammate, and we look forward to having him back in our
lineup when he’s ready.”
While Blake’s absence surely hurts, a matchup with the Blues
(2-2-0) could help raise Anaheim’s spirits. The Ducks are 13-2-0
with one tie in their last 16 home meetings with St. Louis.
Hiller is 5-2-0 lifetime in this series despite a lackluster
3.44 goals-against average. Left wing Bobby Ryan has notched 13
points in 11 career meetings with the Blues, recording a hat trick
and an assist during a 7-4 win Jan. 12.
St. Louis, which began its current four-game road trip with a
3-2 loss to Dallas on Thursday, regrouped to mount a late rally
Saturday, defeating San Jose 4-2. Kent Huskins and Alex Steen
scored in the third period before captain David Backes added an
empty netter to ice the victory.
Brian Elliott spelled No. 1 goaltender Jaroslav Halak, stopping
34 shots in his Blues debut.
“Credit the guys for getting back on track,” coach Davis Payne
said. “San Jose got us way back on our heels in the second period.
Fortunately, our goalie made some big saves.”
Halak, 1-2-0 with a 2.70 GAA, is likely to be back in goal
Sunday. He went 1-1-0 with a 1.52 GAA against Anaheim last
The Blues conclude their road trip Tuesday night in Los