Anaheim-Chicago: Jonas Hiller Stops 42 as Ducks Win Fourth Straight

SKCorrespondent IJanuary 11, 2010

CHICAGO - JANUARY 10: Jonas Hiller #1 of the Anaheim Ducks is congratulated by teammate Scott Niedermayer #27 after a win over the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on January 10, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Ducks defeated the Blackhawks 3-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Caught red handed: Jonas Hiller utilizing his klepto-glove. 

The San Jose Sharks know what I’m talking about.  After desperately assaulting Hiller with 43 shots on Sunday night, the Chicago Blackhawks have a better understanding as well.

As of late, Hiller has been playing up to the level expected of him.  The man who took the Ducks to the playoffs last season, and successfully dominated the San Jose Sharks in six games, is stepping into his own and clearly marking his territory.


Having stopped all but six of the 131 shots he faced over the course of the week, Hiller is helping to define the goaltending situation that the Ducks have been plagued with this season. 

Before the season began, Coach Randy Carlyle developed the "win and you're in" policy.   It was clearly not working as both goaltenders and the team were struggling.  However, even Carlyle has hinted that Hiller might be the man going forward.

“He’s been pretty solid for our hockey club. But [Sunday] was an exclamation point.”  -OC Register

To the surprise of many, Hiller was called upon in both games of the recent back-to-back weekend.  His record in previous settings has been anything but ideal, but this time, the outcome was different. After a solid 3-2 victory on Saturday night against the Nashville Predators, the Ducks were set to face the league leading Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. 

Adding to the impressive victory over Chicago was the fact that opposing goaltender Antti Niemi only faced 11 shots from the Ducks. However, two of them were all the Ducks would need to secure the 3-1 victory and the much needed two points. 

Quite simply, Hiller did what the Ducks required of him and kept the net empty for over 55 minutes of play.  More importantly, he has aided his own personal confidence and boosted the morale of the men playing around him. 

Hiller is stealing wins for his team, and they're returning the favor on the other end of the ice.

Two definite lines are beginning to form as Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are finding that linemate Matt Beleskey is viable asset on the wing.  Beleskey had a tremendous week, as he scored three goals in four games, two of which were game winners. 

Likewise, Bobby Ryan and Saku Koivu are developing a chemistry together that resulted in the game winning goal against Chicago. 

Four wins in a row and the Ducks are currently riding the momentum that is pushing them up through the standings.  They take on the injured Boston Bruins on Wednesday and something tells me they'll have no problems taking advantage of their deflated lineup.

Hillers’ fantastic play has resulted in his earning the second star of the week with NHL%7Chome" title="Hiller - 2nd Star of the Week" target="_blank"> 

He's definitely number one with Ducks fans.