– The longest game day of Jonas Hiller
's life turned out just the way he had hoped – with a victory.
Hiller, who replaced Jean-Sebastien Giguere
as the Anaheim Ducks
' No. 1 goalie just prior to the start of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, made 59 saves on Sunday in a 4-3 triple-overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings
in Game 2 of this Western Conference semifinal at Joe Louis Arena.
Triple overtime is new stuff for the 27-year-old. Games in his native Switzerland don't go longer than one overtime.
"You never play double or triple overtime, because after one overtime there's always the shootout back home," he said in a happy Ducks locker room as the series resumes Tuesday in Anaheim knotted at one game apiece. "It was definitely the longest (game), but I felt pretty good. It was a new situation for me, so I didn't know how I'd react. "
Well, he figured it out, starting with regulation time. Hiller kept his team in the game in the third period, when the Ducks were outshot 15-7. He then made several dazzling saves in the overtime periods, including a barrage in the final five minutes of the first overtime and a phenomenal glove save on Marian Hossa
a little more than five minutes into double OT.
"We got great goaltending again from Hillsie," said Todd Marchant
, who ended the marathon at 1:15 of triple overtime. "Jonas has played tremendous throughout this entire playoffs for us. Tonight was no different. Look at the shots. He's a difference maker."
Hiller managed to stay both mentally and physically fresh despite the extended amount of playing time, thanks to some fresh fruit and plenty of water and sports drinks during the intermissions.
"A lot of fluids, a banana once in a while," Hiller said when asked what he had. "You've got to see that you eat something and drink a lot. I felt pretty good."
"It's always great to win and overtime is always something special. In Detroit, it's always tough to win." -- Jonas Hiller
While Giguere has been through battles such as the one that transpired on Sunday – he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the League MVP of the playoffs in 2003 – Hiller said he didn't find himself asking his teammate for advice in the dressing room in between the overtime periods.
"For sure, he helps me a lot," Hiller said of Giguere. "But once the game starts, you're kind of in your own world. He knows that. You just want to do it the way you always do."
That suited Anaheim, where fans will no doubt be chanting the goalie's name at the Honda Center on Tuesday.
"It's always great to win and overtime is always something special," Hiller said. "In Detroit, it's always tough to win."
Contact Brian Compton at: email@example.com.