Hiller Stays Strong, Rough Patch Continues for Wings

Petr Mrazek usually spends his time playing on the Grand Rapids Griffins, the AHL Calder Cup defending champions. On Sunday, however, Mrazek got the call to start between the posts for the Detroit Red Wings in Anaheim.

Although Mrazek came out to play on Sunday, only allowing one goal in less than 59 minutes played, the young goalie was not given productivity from the team in front of him, and one goal against was still too much for the Red Wings.

“Normally they beat you 5-1,” Babcock said of the Ducks. “It was tight, but they didn’t have much room either. Neither goalie had to be very good, to be honest with you. There just wasn’t that type of opportunity. They’re finding a way to win every night and we’re not finding a way to win every night. We would like to be more like them, to be honest with you.”

As the first period came and went, the game remained scoreless. Just past the halfway point of the second period, Andrew Cogliano received a beautifully placed pass across the crease of Mrazek from Saku Koivu deep in the Red Wings defensive zone to put a quick tipped-in goal past the Mrazek.

As the second period dissipated and the third followed with the same structure, the Detroit Red Wings found themselves losing to the Anaheim Ducks by the lone goal scored by Cogliano.

“It shows we can win different ways,” Cogliano said. “When it comes down to it, we have guys that are willing to pay the price and get the job done. (Hiller’s) been the top player for us. When you have him in the net with full confidence, it’s tough to score on him. But we felt like every line tonight brought something to the table offensively and defensively.”

The Anaheim Ducks goaltender has been stellar all season. Jonas Hiller has won his fourteenth straight game, making him tied for the second-longest streak in NHL history. Ex-Boston Bruin goaltender, Gilles Gilbert, holds the record for longest winning streak with 17 in the 1975-76 season.

“It was a really tight game, a playoff kind of game, I thought,” Hiller said. “Not too many scoring chances on both ends, but I’m definitely really happy to get away with a win.”

The pressure of the shutout did not seem to phase the Ducks’ goaltender, as he kept composed throughout the game even in the wake of a low amount of shots coming from both ends of the ice.

Saku Koivu started the game with three first period penalties, which gave the Red Wings plenty of opportunities to get out ahead early on in the game. Though the team accumulated many scoring chances throughout the game and the pieces were in place, the Wings failed to capitalize on the opportunities.

“When we’re limited like this our power play’s got to be more dangerous,” Babcock said. “We’re too many one-offs. We don’t it get back enough. We’re not on the inside enough, so that’s something that can improve but, all in all, a good effort for our team.”

While Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Darren Helm and Jonathan Ericsson all nursed injuries, the Red Wings were not looking for more issues to add to their list. Daniel Alfredsson sat out of his second straight game against the Ducks due to back spasms. The Wings looked to be up to par both on the gritty end of the ice and with the energy level. Both teams were playing hard-nosed hockey.

“We played one of our best games tonight,” Zetterberg said. “I think we fought hard. We played good enough to win, but couldn’t find a way.”

The Detroit Red Wings will continue to nurse their players back to health and try to look for a two-point victory without their recently developing forward Tomas Tatar, who lost his father earlier this week. Tatar will travel back to Detroit with the team. When they stop in Detroit before heading out to New York, Tatar will take a detour to his hometown in Slovakia for his father’s funeral.

The Red Wings will face off against the New York Rangers on Thursday January 16 at 7 p.m. EST.

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Information from the Detroit Red Wings was used in this report.

For more information on the Detroit Red Wings and NHL hockey from analysts and journalists at Michigan State University – tune into Octopi Hockeytown podcasts and embrace the Spartan debate at www.impact89fm.org/sports

Austin Goodman is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.

Scoring Summary:

1st Period:

No scoring recorded.

2nd Period:

ANA – 12:42 – A Cogliano (Tip-in) S. Koivu, K. Palmieri

3rd Period:

No scoring recorded.

Three Stars:

First: Jonas Hiller

(22SA, 0GA, 1.0SV%, 16-16EV, 6-6PP, 0-0SH)

Second: Andrew Cogliano

(1G, +1, 2 shots, 3 hits 15:01 TOI)

Third: Kyle Palmieri

(1A, +1, 5 shots, 2 hits, 12:28 TOI)