As the Anaheim Ducks have shot to the top of the Pacific Division, they have reaped the benefits of having not one, but two dependable goaltenders. While first-year NHLer Viktor Fasth grabbed many of the early headlines with an 8-0-0 start to the season, it has been the steady play of veteran Jonas Hiller that has kept the Ducks winning the past two weeks. Anaheim now trails only the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference standings (and the entire NHL). The Ducks have not lost in regulation in their last eight games, and Hiller has not lost in regulation since a Feb. 8 loss to the Dallas Stars.
Fasth has returned to earth with a 2-2-1 record in his last five outings while Hiller has a 6-0-1 record since that loss to the Stars. An upper-body injury will keep Fasth out of at least tonight’s game against the Stars, but he is not expected to miss a ton of time. It has been a trend this season for the Ducks’ coaching staff to roll out the hot goaltender for multiple starts, and right now that is Hiller. When Fasth returns, they have one of the best tandems in the league, which should serve them well on their push to the playoffs.
Hiller appears to be bouncing back nicely from a disappointing 2011-12 season in which he was 29-30-12 with a 2.57 goals against average. He is 9-2-2 in 2013, and while his 2.71 goals against average is a bit on the high side, it should continue to drop as he has only allowed four total goals in his last five starts. While Fasth deserves credit for the Ducks’ hot start, Hiller deserves the credit for their continued success. In all likelihood, the Ducks will turn to their proven veteran come playoff time, and Hiller looks more than capable of taking them deep into the postseason.