The last couple of years haven’t been too easy for Jonas Hiller. The Anaheim Ducks goaltender struggled to maintain his health in 2010-11, mostly due to a case of vertigo that he couldn’t shake. He ended up starting just 46 games. Last year, he was back in the game with 73 starts, but had a hard time maintaining consistency on a Ducks squad that missed the playoffs.
This year has been a different story, both for Hiller and the Ducks as a whole. While Hiller found himself outplayed for much of the regular season by rookie Viktor Fasth, he was still chosen to start the playoffs, given his status as the veteran. He quietly had one of the better seasons of his career, though he only started 25 games.
Hiller finished the regular season with a 2.36 goals-against average, which was a career mark, to go along with a .913 save percentage. He only had one shutout, but that didn’t stop the Ducks from handing him the Game 1 start in the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Detroit Red Wings.
The Ducks have had their issues with the Wings in this first round, as they’ll go to a seventh game against the no. 7 seed. While Hiller hasn’t exactly set the world on fire with his play, he’s shown that he’s capable of carrying the load and doing the job for the Ducks in the postseason.
He already has a shutout, which equals his total from the regular season, and managed to keep the Ducks in a game in which he faced 49 shots, though it would eventually result in a loss for Anaheim. On average, he’s faced over 30 shots per game, with only one start that could actually be considered a disappointment.
It’s hard to tell if Fasth would have any more success, given his status as a rookie. But Hiller has shown that he’s capable of carrying the load and keeping the Ducks in games, even when they find themselves outplayed by the Red Wings. He hasn’t had to be excellent quite yet, but has shown that he could step up if he needs to.