ANAHEIM, Calif. – Jonas Hiller was lucky – and good.
The Swiss goalie made 26 saves, and Ryan Getzlaf scored late in the second period in the Anaheim Ducks’ 1-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday. Getzlaf sent a backhander past Cristobal Huet with 4:41 to play in the second, and Hiller made six saves in the third to secure the Ducks’ third consecutive win and his second career shutout. Hiller was starting in place of Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who left the Ducks on Tuesday because of a family matter in Montreal.
Although Hiller is 4-0 in his last six appearances and has stopped 131 of the last 138 shots he has faced, the key to the shutout might have been the Blackhawks’ failure to finish scoring chances.
“Sometimes you have to be lucky,” said Hiller, who had his first career shutout against Los Angeles on Nov. 16. “They had two or three open nets, and they missed all of them. All I did was try to put something there so the players had to think where they were going to shoot. Sometimes that’s enough to make them miss the net.”
The Blackhawks, shut out for the first time this season, were second in the NHL in scoring entering play Friday. They had a 26-21 shots edge, but couldn’t find the net.
“We have to find ways to score goals right now,” Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said. “The last couple of games we have struggled. I don’t know what it is right now, but we have to find ways to put the puck in the net.”
Seven of Chicago’s last eight games have been decided by a single goal, with Chicago winning just two of the seven.
“We have a young team and to get to the playoff we have to learn how to win those games,” Toews said.
The Ducks are 11-0-3 against Chicago at home since Feb. 7, 2001.
“I think the games immediately after Thanksgiving seem to be a little bit different. I don’t think either team executed to the level that I think their coaches would be happy with,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. “Winning is a difficult thing in professional sports and in such competitive leagues like we play in, the skill level is so close on all the teams. We got a goal and they didn’t. We’ll take it.”
The Blackhawks also were skating without their normal starting goalie. Huet made his second appearance since Nikolai Khabibulin sustained a lower-body injury that forced him to leave Wednesday night in San Jose.
Khabibulin was not in uniform Friday and is day-to-day. Corey Crawford was recalled from Rockford of the AHL to back up Huet.
Huet matched Hiller save for save until Getzlaf scored his ninth goal.
“He gave us a chance,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “They are dangerous around the net. There are some big bodies there and quick plays and skill around there and he did what he had to do. Tough loss.”
Bobby Ryan got the decisive sequence started by forcing a turnover along the left boards. Corey Perry quickly gathered the puck and whisked a pass that initially caromed off Getzlaf’s skate. But the centre gained control and twisted a backhander past Huet.
Getzlaf has three goals and six assists in his seven-game points streak.
Notes: Giguere is expected to rejoin the Ducks in Carolina on Sunday. David LeNeveau was recalled from Iowa to back up Hiller. … Ducks defenceman Bret Hedican was honoured in a pre-game ceremony after appearing in his 1,000th NHL game in St. Louis on Nov. 22. … Selanne played his 606th game for Anaheim, matching Paul Kariya for the second-most in club history. Steve Rucchin played 616 games for Anaheim between 1994-2004.