ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -Jonas Hiller is making it easy for the Anaheim Ducks to quickly forget about traded goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
Hiller made a season-high 46 saves on Wednesday night in a 3-1 victory over Detroit, which extended the Ducks' home winning streak to nine games. It was Anaheim's second game since signing the 27-year-old netminder to a four-year, $18 million contract extension and trading Giguere to Toronto the following day.
On Monday night, Hiller stopped 33 shots in a 3-0 victory at Florida. He is 11-3 with a 2.12 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage in his last 14 games, leading a surge that has put the Ducks into playoff contention after a miserable start.
Along the way, Giguere was bumped to the bench - less than three years after leading the Ducks to a Stanley Cup title.
``I think Hiller's a talented kid,' said Detroit coach Mike Babcock, who guided Anaheim to the Stanley Cup finals in 2003 with Giguere in the nets. ``Obviously, Giggy did a great job here. There's a banner hanging up in the air here and everyone has a Stanley Cup ring because of him.
``When I was here, he got us to the finals, as well. That's the measure of a goalie. And yet, the sport is all about the next guy coming in and taking your job.'
Bobby Ryan had a goal and an assist, and Ryan Getzlaf added two assists for the Ducks, who can tie the franchise record for consecutive home wins Monday against Los Angeles. Hiller's save total was five fewer than his career high.
``It's fun to play when you get a lot of shots, but it's also a little tiring - especially on a back-to-back,' Hiller said. ``I wouldn't have liked to have that many shots, but that's the way it went. But we found a way, and it was an important two points. We've been playing pretty well lately, and we always feel like we have a chance to win.'
The defending Western Conference champion Red Wings are tied in points with Nashville and Calgary for seventh place. The Ducks, 11-4 in their last 15 games, are three points behind Detroit.
Pavel Datsyuk scored a power-play goal and Jimmy Howard made 27 saves for the injury-ravaged Red Wings, who haven't won consecutive games since Jan. 7-9 during a West Coast trip.
Playing at home for the first time since Jan. 19, the Ducks took a 1-0 lead 71 seconds into the game with their first shot. Whitney's drive skipped past Howard on the stick side as the goalie was screened by teammates Todd Bertuzzi and rookie Jonathan Ericsson.
Anaheim had to wait for a lengthy video review before its second goal was confirmed. Steve Eminger flipped the puck toward the net from the right point and it caromed off Kyle Chipchura's left hand and past Howard's glove.
``They got a couple of goals early by throwing the puck at the net and creating traffic,' Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. ``I thought we battled through that and came back. But we were already down three goals.'
The Red Wings outshot Anaheim 21-9 in the second period with the help of three power plays. The third led to Datsyuk's 15th goal, which tied Tomas Holmstrom and Bertuzzi for the team lead and sliced Detroit's deficit to 3-1 with 9.9 seconds left in the period.
Datsyuk sped down the slot between defensemen Scott Niedermayer and James Wisniewski and beat Hiller to the glove side, ending Hiller's career-best shutout streak at 155 minutes, 3 seconds.
It was a small measure of payback for Datsyuk, who was robbed on a glove save by Hiller after he raced past Niedermayer and Wisniewski and went in alone during a power play 1:46 into the second.
``He's a great player with unbelievable speed,' Hiller said. ``They have a skilled team and they can put the puck on his stick. I was able to stop the first one, but not the other one. I was a little deep on that one, he went quickly from his backhand to his forehand, and I gave him some room on my glove side.'
NOTES: Ericsson, benched by Babcock for Tuesday's victory at San Jose, fought rookie Troy Bodie less than 3 minutes after Whitney's goal. ... LW Jason Blake, obtained by Anaheim from Toronto on Sunday, became the 20th player to play a regular-season game for the Ducks and Kings. ... The Red Wings, who came in averaging the second-fewest penalty minutes in the NHL (9.3), were short-handed twice. ... The teams split the four-game season series, with each team winning twice at home. The only time Anaheim won a season series from Detroit was 1996-97, when they were 3-0 with a tie against the eventual Stanley Cup champs. ... The Red Wings are 12-15-6 when their opponent scores first.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved