Hiller blanks Sharks in opener

Jonas Hiller coolly stopped every puck like a seasoned playoff veteran, showing all the post-season poise that the top-seeded San Jose Sharks still haven’t found.

A Scott Niedermayer shot gets past San Jose Sharks’ goalie Evgeni Nabokov as Anaheim Duck Corey Perry provides a distraction on Thursday. The Ducks won Game 1 2-0.

Ducks 2 Sharks 0

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Jonas Hiller coolly stopped every puck like a seasoned playoff veteran, showing all the post-season poise that the top-seeded San Jose Sharks still haven’t found.

Hiller made 35 saves in a sparkling playoff debut for eighth-seeded Anaheim, and Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist in the third period of the Ducks’ 2-0 victory over the Sharks on Thursday night.

Getzlaf set up captain Scott Niedermayer’s tiebreaking power-play goal early in the third before roaring out of the penalty box to score his own goal with 2:25 to play.

With their Swiss goalie’s flawless play, the playoff-tested Ducks put an early playoff scare into the Sharks, who won the Presidents’ Trophy during the regular season with 117 points.

Evgeni Nabokov made 15 saves for San Jose in the opener of the first post-season series between two California clubs in four decades.

San Jose claimed home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs by winning the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time in franchise history, while Anaheim needed a prolonged late-season surge just to reach the post-season. Both teams know those details don’t matter much in the post-season, and the Sharks looked like the less-experienced club for most of the night at a largely sombre Shark Tank.

San Jose showcased its superior skill while outshooting the Ducks by a 2-to-1 margin, but the Sharks rarely threatened to get any of those chances past Hiller, who claimed the Ducks’ starting job during the second half of the regular season. Coach Randy Carlyle stuck with Hiller instead of going back to Jean-Sebastien Giguere, the 2003 Conn Smythe Trophy winner who watched the game from a folding chair behind the glass opposite the Anaheim bench.

Niedermayer, the Ducks’ other Conn Smythe winner, had the touch to break open a scoreless game.

After two scoreless periods, the Ducks got a man-advantage from a foolish tripping penalty by Jonathan Cheechoo. Getzlaf, the playmaker who had four assists in Anaheim’s most recent visit to San Jose, made a sharp pass to the opposite faceoff circle for a one-timer by Niedermayer, who slipped his low shot past Nabokov with 14:42 left.

Getzlaf committed an elbowing penalty with 4 1/2 minutes to play, but Anaheim’s penalty-killers held on. Getzlaf then came straight to mid-ice from the penalty box, accepted a pass from Mike Brown after Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s turnover, and ripped a shot past Nabokov with 2:25 to play, cementing the Ducks’ upset victory.

The Sharks’ rivalry with the Ducks has simmered for several years while Anaheim made two Stanley Cup finals appearances and San Jose attempted to catch up. The Sharks finally moved ahead this season with a 26-point advantage over the Ducks in the Pacific Division, but enters the playoffs with three consecutive second-round playoff ousters looming over them.

Anaheim surged into the playoffs after nearly giving up at the trade deadline, when the Ducks shipped defensive forward Travis Moen to the Sharks. Moen, who will be a free agent this summer, scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal for Anaheim two years ago.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

The RDC Queens picked up an extra special victory on home ice… Continue reading

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

‘Stupid’ law preventing Canada’s re-engagement with Iran: retired envoy

OTTAWA — The real reason the Liberal government hasn’t been able to… Continue reading

Voters head to polls for BC municipal elections today

VANCOUVER — Voters in British Columbia will head to the polls today… Continue reading

All sharks tagged in N.S. expedition can now be tracked on Ocearch website

HALIFAX — All six of the sharks tagged in Nova Scotian waters… Continue reading

Memorial service for former PQ minister Lise Payette today in Montreal

MONTREAL — Mourners will gather to remember former Parti Quebecois cabinet minister… Continue reading

Immunotherapy scores a first win against some breast cancers

For the first time, one of the new immunotherapy drugs has shown… Continue reading

‘Mom I’m in trouble:’ Canadian, Brit face 10 years in jail for alleged graffiti

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — The mother of a Canadian who was arrested… Continue reading

Coyote on the prowl near Penhold

This coyote was out on the prowl in a field just west… Continue reading

Most Read