By Pete Zarustica/Garden Grove Journal/with wire service reports
OK, here’s today’s philosophy quiz. The Anaheim Ducks have reached the midway part of the 2010-11 National Hockey League season with 21-17-4 record.
Is their glass of ice cubes half-full or half-empty?
That all depends on how you look at it, of course. They’re only third in the Pacific Division, but they’re fifth in the Western Conference race (the top eight make the Stanley Cup playoffs). They’ve had some dull streaks that nearly plunged them out of contention, but (not counting Wednesday’s game; results too late for our deadline) they’ve won three straight and five of their last six.
Much of the credit for the Ducks’ 2-1 win over the Chicago Black Hawks in Anaheim Sunday belongs to goalie Jonas Hiller. He had 39 saves, including stopping all 19 shots he faced in the third period.
“With Jonas, this isn’t the first time he’s stole a game,” said coach Randy Carlyle. “We’ve kind of come to expect it.”
Anaheim got goals from Andreas Lilja and Corey Perry.
“He carried the load for us tonight,” said Perry of Hiller.
On the down side for the Ducks, the Ducks played without captain Ryan Getzlaf, who was struck in the face with a puck on Dec. 31 suffered multiple nasal fractures. He’s been sidelined indefinitely.
Friday’s 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers was keyed by players who stepped into the breach after Getlaf’s injury.
Jason Blake and Lubomir Visnovsky each score two goals for Anaheim, and Hiller made 35 saves.
“It helps with some of your younger players, knowing they can win without Getzy,” said Carlyle. “He’s a big part of our hockey club. And he’s done a lot in a very short period of time in the NHL. Unfortunately, he’s injured, and we need a lot of people to step up. So it’s great to see us get some offense from our back end.”
Also scoring was Bobby Ryan, and three players had two assists each.
The Ducks hosted the Nashville Predators Wednesday, then will play the Columbus Blue Jackets at Honda Center on Friday and the San Jose Sharks on Sunday. Next Wednesday (Jan. 12) the Ducks host the St. Louis Blues.