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Both the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks have had to count on their backup goaltenders of late. Anaheim's has been considerably more reliable.

The Ducks' Jonas Hiller could again be in net Wednesday as Anaheim (14-9-3) takes on the Blackhawks at the United Center.

Hiller has appeared in three straight games as No. 1 goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere left for his native Montreal last week on a personal matter, then had to depart Monday's game in Detroit due to groin cramps.

Hiller has gone 2-1-1 with a 0.87 goals-against average in that span. He earned his second shutout in four starts with a 1-0 victory over the Blackhawks on Friday and followed it up with a 4-1 win at Carolina on Sunday.

He replaced Giguere for the third period Monday and stopped eight of nine shots, but suffered his first loss in six appearances in a 2-1 defeat. Hiller is 6-2-1 with a 1.98 GAA on the season.

"Decided after two periods that he had seen enough rubber for one game and not take a chance," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said of Giguere.

Whether Giguere, who has a history of groin injuries, will play Wednesday isn't certain.

Strengthening Hiller's chances of starting Wednesday is his career record against Chicago. Last week's shutout improved him to 3-0-0 with a 1.33 GAA versus the Blackhawks. Giguere, though, is 9-2-0 with a 2.29 GAA in his last 11 starts against Chicago.

Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim's leader with 31 points, had an eight-game point streak snapped Monday. He had four goals and eight assists during the streak, and scored the only goal in Friday's victory. Getzlaf has a point in six of the past seven meetings with Chicago.

While the Ducks, 4-1-0 in their last five, have been able to count on Hiller, the Blackhawks haven't gotten similarly dependable play out of their backup goalie. With Nikolai Khabibulin out indefinitely with an undisclosed lower-body injury, the Blackhawks (10-6-6) will have to again go with slumping Cristobal Huet as they try to break a three-game losing streak.

Huet came in when Khabibulin was injured in the second period Nov. 26 at San Jose, and he's gone 0-2-1 with a 3.01 GAA since, pushing his losing streak to four games.

Huet gave up three goals in the third period of Saturday's 5-2 loss at Los Angeles, which denied the Blackhawks their first winning record on their annual circus road trip in 11 years.

"I'm not happy with this ending. That's the worst we've been," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "We can't be happy. We got to be better than that."

The Blackhawks' 3-2-1 mark on the trip, however, was their first non-losing record on the road swing since 2000-01.

Huet has split his last four starts versus Anaheim, but gave up one goal in three of them.

Patrick Kane, who leads the Blackhawks with 28 points, recorded a goal and an assist Saturday and has a point in 16 of 22 games this season. Some of Chicago's other key offensive players, however, haven't been nearly as productive.

Jonathan Toews, who finished second to Kane in last season's Calder Trophy voting, hasn't recorded a point in three of his last four games and has no goals in seven of eight. Kris Versteeg and Martin Havlat have each gone pointless in their last three contests.

Anaheim has won 13 of the last 15 meetings with Chicago and six of seven at the United Center.

EA SPORTS NHL09 Game Predictions
Anaheim 1
Chicago 2 (OT)
Three Stars
G: 2 | A: 0

G: 0 | A: 1

G: 1 | A: 0


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