Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hiller's shutout sends Ducks past slumping Kings

ANAHEIM, Calif. -Jonas Hiller made 27 saves in his seventh career shutout, rookie defenseman Cam Fowler scored and the Anaheim Ducks beat the slumping Los Angeles Kings 2-0 Monday night in the first meeting of the annual Freeway Faceoff.

Jason Blake scored with 2:24 left and Teemu Selanne had two assists for the Ducks, who have won two straight after a six-game skid. Anaheim shut down the Kings' offense in front of Hiller, who punctuated his first shutout of the season with a sparkling glove save on Anze Kopitar's point-blank chance in the final minutes.
Jonathan Quick stopped 17 shots for the Kings, who have lost seven of eight after a six-game winning streak. Mistakes by Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson, the Kings' cornerstone young defensemen, led directly to the Anaheim goals.

Selanne returned from a three-game absence with an injured groin, and defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky played through back spasms. Both assisted on Fowler's goal midway through the second period, breaking a scoreless tie.

The Kings have plummeted since a 12-3-0 start put them on top of the overall NHL standings earlier in the season. Los Angeles hasn't won in regulation since giving up six goals in a loss to longtime Pacific Division ruler San Jose on Nov. 15.

Scoring has been the problem, as Hiller could attest. Although coach Terry Murray has shuffled lines, Los Angeles has just four goals in its last four games.

Anaheim had similar scoring woes during its skid, which ended with six goals against Phoenix last weekend, but the Ducks' biggest problem has been defense, giving up 16 goals in their previous four games.

Hiller's heavy workload and high shot volume have affected his totals, but the Swiss goalie has kept the Ducks in enough games to avoid a major slump.

Hiller made his biggest save with 3:19 to play, cleanly gloving Kopitar's point-blank one-timer in the slot while falling facefirst on the ice.

Both teams started tentatively. Blake's backhand off the outside of Quick's post in the second period was the closest thing to a goal in the first 32 minutes.

Anaheim finally connected when Doughty took a second tripping penalty just 8 seconds after getting out of the box, giving a second straight power play to the Ducks. After Selanne won the ensuing faceoff, the 18-year-old Fowler teed up a pass from Visnovsky for the second goal of his promising debut season.

After Johnson's failed pinch resulted in a 2-on-1 for Blake and Selanne, Blake punctuated a strong game by scoring his second goal in two games.

NOTES: Fowler has a four-game points streak, but hadn't found the net in 13 games since scoring his first NHL goal Oct. 17. ... Before the game, the Kings recalled tough RW John Zeiler for his season debut. He spent parts of three season with the Kings before spending all of last season with Los Angeles' AHL affiliate in Manchester, where he has five points and 46 penalty minutes this season.


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