This afternoon, the OC Register asked Jonas Hiller if the shorthanded goal he gave up was a momentum changer. It was a fair question for a goaltender who, three goals later, looked on the verge of tears as he sat pulled on the Anahiem bench.
But with a disappointing effort from virtually everyone but the fourth line, numerous defensive breakdowns and a general malaise, it's not like the loss was Hiller's fault. Still, as the OCR seemed to ask Hiller if he maybe gave up a bad goal, Arthur, I'll ask you if Jonas Hiller had a bad game?
It's hard to say that when the defense wasn't picking up the shots that led to the goals (and sometimes creating them). I mean, I want to say that he could have had those if he was dialed in, and Hiller has made bigger saves than any of those goals in the 3rd would have been. BUT I don't think the Ducks were down in this game because Hiller was playing particularly poorly. Maybe it could have been closer if he came up with a few spectacular saves, but this team is going to have to get to a point where it's not expecting Hiller to be spectacular just to notch a competitive loss.
Very few of the Ducks came to play after their long break, and Hiller's play was sharp enough for a win on most days. If our fourth line wasn't our hungriest, today might have been one of those days.
It's too easy to hang losses on goalies. After Sutton gift-wrapped the game winner, I just can't blame Hiller for this. A trademark Getzlaf no look pass led to the shorthanded break. Sutton partially screened Hiller on the third goal, and gave a half-assed attempt to block it. Then the Ducks gave up a one-timer in the slot after they collapsed on a break that wasn't even and odd-man chance. After the Sutton turn over, the Ducks just quit on this game. If I was Hiller, I would have been in tears too. It's tough having to face the fact that your team has quit and decided to hang you out to dry. Let's be real Ducks fans, that was a mercy pull in the third.
Sometimes a goalie just has to battle and keep the team in the game. Hiller did that today. When the game came apart early in the third, he had made plenty of good saves and kept the Ducks in the game. If anything, Hiller and the fourth line are the only people who showed up for this game.