Kings
Ducks
1 - 2 Final - 2OT
  for this game

Hiller, Schneider clinch playoff spot for Ducks

Mar 27, 2008 - 6:50 AM
ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) -- In an entertaining battle of rookie European goaltenders, Jonas Hiller helped give the Anaheim Ducks the chance to defend their Stanley Cup championship.

Hiller made 31 saves before stopping five of the six shooters he faced in the shootout and defenseman Mathieu Schneider netted the decisive goal in the sixth round of the bonus format as the Ducks clinched a playoff spot Wednesday with a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.

Rookie Bobby Ryan scored in regulation for Anaheim (44-26-8), which already had locked up a postseason berth when the game went to overtime.

"One of the goals that we set at the beginning of the year, obviously, is to make the playoffs," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "Historically, that's been a challenge for teams that have had success the year before to come back. Now we're in a position to improve for home-ice advantage. We just want to get our game to the level where we feel we can be competitive against the best teams."

With the triumph, the Ducks also extended their franchise-record home winning streak to 10 games. The run is the longest of its kind since the Calgary Flames also won 10 in a row on home ice from November 7-December 12, 2006.

Hiller and counterpart Erik Ersberg took turns making brilliant saves. The Kings' Swedish netminder was sensational in the first half of the third, and the Ducks' Swiss goalie made huge saves late in the period and the extra session.

Both netminders again were impressive in the shootout, with each allowing just one goal over the first five rounds. But former King Schneider put Anaheim ahead for good in the sixth, snapping a shot that sneaked between the pads of Ersberg for a 2-1 edge.

"I saw that he came out pretty far," Schneider said. "I wanted to get off a quick snap shot because it's hard to close your legs when you're backing up."

"He faked like he was going to shoot it and I thought he was going to go high," Ersberg said. "But it went between my legs. It felt like it got stuck between my pads and just went in."

Hiller - who improved to 6-0-1 at home this season - made it stand, denying Brian Willsie on Los Angeles' final opportunity.

"It's great that we're in the playoffs," Hiller said. "It was a tough game. During the game, you probably don't think about it too much. You just try to do your job. I think everybody did pretty well on our team tonight."

"It was nice to clinch a spot tonight, absolutely, and it's nice to be at home," Schneider added. "The comfort of knowing that we're home basically for the rest of the season going into the playoffs, I think, gives us a little bit of peace of mind and a chance to really get our bodies ready."

Ersberg finished with 39 saves for the Kings, who earned five of a possible six points on their three-game road trip (2-0-1).

"It's tough. It was a close game, it was a great game by both teams," Ersberg said. "I think we played great defensive hockey in front of me, clearing out rebounds for me and blocked shots and everything that we're supposed to do. So that helped me out a lot."

"Our guys played hard," Los Angeles coach Marc Crawford said. "These games mean a lot more to the teams that we are playing right now than they mean to us, so it's hard to find your motivation. We've challenged them to find it. They've been finding it, and that's good."

Los Angeles opened the scoring during a power play at 9:29 of the first period.

With Todd Marchant in the penalty box for slashing, defenseman Tom Preissing unleashed a shot from the slot that was stopped by Hiller. Derek Armstrong got the rebound to O'Sullivan, who beat the goaltender from the right side for his 20th goal of the season and a 1-0 lead.

"It was a real good play by Army," O'Sullivan said. "There was a shot on net and he kind of pushed the rebound over to me. It was a bit of a bad angle. I just tried to get it up and over Hiller."

Chris Kunitz nearly knotted the game when he hit the right goalpost with a backhander from a sharp angle on the right side with just over two minutes left in the first. But Ryan finally drew the Ducks even less than 12 1/2 minutes into the second with an impressive individual effort.

With Anaheim on the power play, Ryan gained possession of the puck near his own blue line and raced down the left wing. After cutting to the top of the slot, the 21-year-old put a wrist shot past Ersberg and into the top left corner of the net with 7:35 left in the period for his fourth tally.

"(Ryan) came down the ice and moved across the zone," Ersberg said. "He shot through a little screen, and I was maybe a little far into the crease. But it was a good shot, too."

Ersberg kept the contest deadlocked with some brilliant saves in the opening half of the third.

With Francois Beauchemin staring at an open left side of the net, Ersberg dived across the crease and swatted away the defenseman's shot with his stick midway through the period. Less than a minute later, the 26-year-old made a superb stop on Marchant from alone in front.

"Erik played a terrific game for us," Crawford said. "He made several really good saves. They were very fortunate to have as many power plays as they had, and he stood really tall on all of them."

Ersberg also received more help from the iron behind him as Kunitz hit the left post with 4 1/2 minutes to go.

Not to be outdone by his counterpart, Hiller made a spectacular save in the waning seconds of the third to clinch the playoff spot for Anaheim. Alexander Frolov came down on a breakaway with 16 seconds remaining, but he could not stuff the puck past the outstretched left leg of Hiller, forcing overtime.

"You don't have time to think about it in a situation like that," Hiller said. "It was a breakaway, and you have to focus on the guy coming in. At the break before overtime, I could stop and think about it a bit. It was good to realize that we had made the playoffs."

Schneider was relieved Hiller made the save, considering he committed the turnover that led to Frolov's breakaway.

"We set up for a one-timer. I kind of bobbled it," Schneider said. "(Two Kings) were both coming toward me and made a good play. (Hiller) made an unbelievable save. It was one of the best saves I've seen in a long time."

With the Ducks already having achieved their goal for the night, Hiller did not suffer a letdown in the extra session, stacking his pads to stop Michael Cammalleri on a short 2-on-none rush with 18 seconds to go.

"On our team, everyone has a job to do," Hiller said. "Tonight, it was me who made the saves."

Hiller was making his third straight start in place of Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who is sidelined with back spasms.

"We felt that he was a goalie that we could rely one," Carlyle said. "He's just gaining more confidence in his abilities to play at this level. He's getting the recognition that is deserved of his performance."

"He seemed, for the most part, unbeatable," Schneider added. "He's been the difference for us lately."








  • NHL
    FINAL IN SHOOTOUT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    LOS ANGELES 1 0 0 0 (1) 1
    ANAHEIM 0 1 0 0 (2) 2 FINAL IN SHOOTOUT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: LOS - (PP) PATRICK O'SULLIVAN 20 (DEREK ARMSTRONG, TOM
    PREISSING) 9:29
    2ND PRD: ANA - (PP) BOBBY RYAN 4 (MARC-ANDRE BERGERON) 12:25
    3RD PRD: NONE
    OT: NONE
    SO: ANA - TODD

    Kings 1, Ducks 2  Final - 2OTMar 27 12:50 AM


  • NHL
    END OF OT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    LOS ANGELES 1 0 0 0 1
    ANAHEIM 0 1 0 0 1 END OF OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: LOS - (PP) PATRICK O'SULLIVAN 20 (DEREK ARMSTRONG, TOM
    PREISSING) 9:29
    2ND PRD: ANA - (PP) BOBBY RYAN 4 (MARC-ANDRE BERGERON) 12:25
    3RD PRD: NONE
    OT: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL:

    Mar 27 12:41 AM
  • 159
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 67 roots (Overtime)

    Kings 1, Ducks 1  OT - 4:55Mar 27 12:34 AM
  • 92
    roots
    bigbelly Added 5 roots

    Kings 1, Ducks 1  3rd - 1:00Mar 27 12:33 AM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 3RD GOING INTO OT
    1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    LOS ANGELES 1 0 0 1
    ANAHEIM 0 1 0 1 GOING INTO OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: LOS - (PP) PATRICK O'SULLIVAN 20 (DEREK ARMSTRONG, TOM
    PREISSING) 9:29
    2ND PRD: ANA - (PP) BOBBY RYAN 4 (MARC-ANDRE BERGERON) 12:25
    3RD PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --

    Mar 27 12:33 AM
  • 87
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 72 roots (Close Finish)

    Kings 1, Ducks 1  3rd - 4:38Mar 27 12:23 AM
  • 15
    roots
    cos5000 Added 5 roots

    Kings 1, Ducks 1  3rd - 13:20Mar 27 12:18 AM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    LOS ANGELES 1 0 1
    ANAHEIM 0 1 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: LOS - (PP) PATRICK O'SULLIVAN 20 (DEREK ARMSTRONG, TOM
    PREISSING) 9:29
    2ND PRD: ANA - (PP) BOBBY RYAN 4 (MARC-ANDRE BERGERON) 12:25
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    LOS

    Mar 26 11:42 PM


  • NHL
    LOS ANGELES 1
    ANAHEIM 1
    2ND PRD: ANA - (PP) BOBBY RYAN 4 (UNASSISTED) 12:25

    Kings 1, Ducks 1  2nd - 7:35Mar 26 11:28 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    LOS ANGELES 1 1
    ANAHEIM 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: LOS - (PP) PATRICK O'SULLIVAN 20 (DEREK ARMSTRONG, TOM
    PREISSING) 9:29
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    LOS 13 13
    ANA 12 12
    GOALIES: LOS - E

    Mar 26 10:44 PM


  • NHL
    LOS ANGELES 1
    ANAHEIM 0
    1ST PRD: LOS - (PP) PATRICK O'SULLIVAN 20 (DEREK ARMSTRONG, TOM
    PREISSING) 9:29

    Kings 1, Ducks 0  1st - 10:31Mar 26 10:31 PM
  • 10
    roots
    Againigan Added 5 roots

    Kings vs. DucksMar 26 9:00 PM
  • 5
    roots
    Sensfan4eva Added 5 roots

    Kings vs. DucksMar 5 8:48 AM