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What Jonas Hiller's Absence Spells for Anaheim

When Anaheim announced that Jonas Hiller was placed on Injury Reserve for lightheadedness and fatigue, Anaheim didn't know what this news spelled for their near future, and their future as playoff contenders.

However now that the Ducks have faced a few different opponents without Jonas Hiller in net, some of those uncertainties have answers, and what Anaheim has been facing is not anything worth celebrating.

Over the past three games, Anaheim has allowed at least five goals against in each contest. The first showdown was last Wednesday's game against the Washington Capitals. At least this game was decided by a single-goal, however the final score was 7-6 in favor of the Caps.

Yes, that means Washington put seven pucks behind Anaheim's backup goaltender, Curtis McElhinney. Even though, for most of the game, Anaheim kept up with the Caps, it was still a dark shadow of what Anaheim will be facing without Hiller between the pipes.

The second game was just last night, this time against the Minnesota Wild, where Anaheim was apparently not only playing against the Wild, but also battling the referees. The calls in this game were pretty tough to stomach. The refs opted out of calling some of the most deliberate penalties seen when they would put Minny a man down, but when it came to the Ducks one skate out of place and it was two minutes in the box.

This game ended with the scoreboard reading 5-1 in favor of the Wild, and when two of the Minnesota goals come on power plays, I really have to say that the refs were out of line in this game. Despite that, again McElhinney saw the nod for the net, and again the opponents scored five goals behind him.

Finally, tonight's disgust of a game, from a Ducks' fan perspective, is the third game in which there has been at least five goals allowed, this one against St. Louis was the worst of the three thus far without Hiller. Again, Anaheim had to not only fight the Blues but also had to showdown against some pretty awful officiating. The final score was a disappointing 9-3, obviously in favor of the Blues.

After just two periods, Anaheim trailed the Blues 8-3, and two of those goals were from two bogus penalties against the Ducks. The first was not only a penalty against the Ducks, but it was an alleged goaltending interference penalty which also nullified what would have been Anaheim's fourth goal of the game making the score 4-6. Instead, Anaheim watched it's fourth tally get taken away even though there was little to no contact with the Blues netminder, and watched a penalty force Perry to the box. While Perry was sitting, Anaheim watched the Blues score their 7th goal of the game, their second goal with the man advantage.

Soon thereafter, Selanne chose to vocalize his anger to the refs for taking away the goal, costing Selanne a 10 minute misconduct, and the zebras opted to slap Anaheim in the face with a 2 minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty as well. That penalty ended up giving way to the 3rd power play goal for the Blues, and a scoreboard reading 8-3 after just two periods.

The third period was the least eventful of the game aside from an unrealistic 10-minute misconduct on Sutton who was exchanging words with Polack after a very questionable hit on Bobby Ryan. Polack could have been dished 5 minutes easily, and maybe he deserves a suspension because it was a blindsided hit, and for that I find Sutton's anger justified.

All in all, the last three games have made Anaheim fans respect, cherish, and miss Jonas Hiller so much. Honestly, I have to admit that, until now, I have really been taking Hiller's talent for granted.

Anaheim has a three day break between tonight's game and their next game, the next one back home at Honda Center, and standings will undoubtedly change between now and then, but all I hope is that Jonas makes his much anticipated return Wednesday night against the LA Kings.

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