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Game 1 Player To Watch: Jonas Hiller

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

ANAHEIM, CA -- Jonas Hiller has faced off against his former team in the past, with four appearances against the Anaheim Ducks in the regular season, but tonight's tilt means a bit more to the goaltender.

"I can't deny that it's definitely something special," Hiller said earlier this week. "It's going to be different than playing any other team. At the same time, you have to prepare yourself to play as well as you can and hopefully win as many games as possible.

"It's almost like going back to somewhere where you felt at home. You've been away and you come back and it's going to be a different situation, but certain things are going to feel really familiar. Knowing a lot of people in hockey and outside of hockey there, I think that makes it a little special. I don't know if it's different emotion or anything, but it will be different than playing any other team."

For the most part, the 33-year-old has been stellar for the Flames during the playoffs. Other than a rough start to Game 6 in which he gave up two goals on three shots, Hiller has been been rock solid under pressure.

He has a 3-2 record, a 2.20 GAA, and a .931 save percentage in the playoffs. He was able to hold the Flames in games in the first round series vs. Vancouver when his young team needed a steady presence and has been able to shake off bad breaks or bounces immediately.

When asked if he was concerned about Hiller staying poised in the situation, Bob Hartley brushed aside the notion that the netminder's performance would be negatively affected by playing the Ducks.

"It's always special when you play against your former team but Hills already played a couple of games [against them] this year," Hartley stated in his post-practice media address in Anaheim.

"Yes, he's coming back into a rink where he had great seasons and to an organization that was real good to Hills. It's a part of the business. And Hills is not a kid. He's a veteran. He understands what is going on and we have lots of trust in him."

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