The Detroit Red Wings lulled Anaheim into a low-scoring, muck-and-grind game and Hiller again wasn't fazed in a 1-0 win at Honda Center that kept two impressive streaks intact.
Hiller won his 14th straight game to tie four others for the second-longest streak in NHL history, most-recently achieved by Tom Barrasso of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992-93. Gilles Gilbert of the Boston Bruins holds the record with 17 straight wins in 1975-76.
"It was a really tight game, a playoff kind of game, I thought," Hiller said. "Not too many scoring chances on both ends, but I'm definitely really happy to get away with a win."
The Ducks improved to 19-0-2 at home and are the only team in the NHL without a regulation home loss. Hiller made 22 saves; Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek made 22.
Anaheim had scored four or more goals in a team record six straight games, but couldn't get traction against its longtime nemesis in the Red Wings' first appearance in Anaheim since they eliminated the Ducks in last season's Western Conference Quarterfinal series.
Corey Perry did his part by forcing Detroit into three penalties, but Anaheim went 0-for-4 on the power play. Justin Abdelkader nearly tied it when he hit the left post with about four minutes remaining before Anaheim killed a power play and a 6-on-5 Detroit advantage.
The game settled into a stalemate when Andrew Cogliano's line provided the energy shot in the second period. Saku Koivu, who took three minor penalties in the opening 22 minutes, broke up a pass in Detroit's zone and threaded the puck through defenseman Brendan Smith to Cogliano for a tap-in goal at 12:42.
"It shows we can win different ways," Cogliano said. "When it comes down to it, we have guys that are willing to pay the price and get the job done. Hillsy's been the top player for us. When you have him in the net with full confidence, it's tough to score on him. But we felt like every line tonight brought something to the table offensively and defensively.
"Whenever you have a goalie that confident in the net, the team automatically plays better. You feel good in front of him. You feel like you can take chances and maybe take a little more risk because he's playing so well. We've been going on this little run because of him."
Boudreau joked that "we were resting [Koivu] the first period" in the penalty box. On a serious note, Boudreau was pleased with the Cogliano-Koivu-Kyle Palmieri line.
"They're out there to shut down [Henrik] Zetterberg's line and they end up scoring the goal to end the game," Boudreau said. "That's the kind of play we've been getting from Cogs and Saku, and I thought Palmieri did a real good job on the right side tonight."
Anaheim couldn't get into its skating game and that might have had to do with the absence of captain Ryan Getzlaf, who was scratched with a lower-body injury and is day-to-day, the team said. Getzlaf took a shot off his foot in the second period Saturday against the Phoenix Coyotes and did not return for the third. Boudreau said they'll re-assess Getzlaf on Tuesday and noted that Getzlaf "was walking pretty good."
"We need a couple of days here for this thing to simmer down, and that's what we decided," Boudreau said of Getzlaf.
Detroit played a second straight game without Daniel Alfredsson after he was a late scratch Saturday with back spasms. The Red Wings were already without Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Darren Helm and Jonathan Ericsson, but for the second game in as many nights Detroit was up to the task.
The Red Wings came out with another good road period and limited Anaheim to six shots in the first period. Detroit got three early power plays – all courtesy of Koivu -- but its best scoring chances in the first came on Riley Sheahan's drive to the net and Zetterberg's pass to Abdelkader that was broken up by Jakob Silfverberg.
"We played one of our best games tonight," Zetterberg said. "I think we fought hard. We played good enough to win, but couldn't find a way."
Detroit coach Mike Babcock is tired of talking about his injured players, but admitted it's particularly hurting the power play. The Red Wings went 0-for-5 Sunday and are in an 0-for-21 slump.
"When we're limited like this our power play's got to be more dangerous," Babcock said. "We're too many one-offs. We don't it get back enough. We're not on the inside enough, so that's something that can improve but, all in all, a good effort for our team."
Anaheim is the fifth-team in NHL history to win 17 games in an 18-game span (17-1-0). The most-recent team to do it was Boudreau's Washington Capitals in 2009-10.
"Normally they beat you 5-1," Babcock said of the Ducks. "It was tight, but they didn't have much room either. Neither goalie had to be very good, to be honest with you. There just wasn't that type of opportunity. They're finding a way to win every night and we're not finding a way to win every night. We would like to be more like them, to be honest with you."
|Back to top|