View Count: 328 |  Publish Date: April 05, 2014
Ducks can't stage comeback in 5-2 loss to Predators

Almost as impressively as the Nashville Predators hovered around the net Friday, the Ducks circled around their beaten veteran goaltender Jonas Hiller after a 5-2 trouncing at Honda Center.
Hiller, returning from a three-game hiatus that Coach Bruce Boudreau said he hoped would enhance the goalies sharpness for the approaching Stanley Cup playoffs, gave up four first-period goals on nine shots.
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He was replaced with 2 minutes, 55 seconds left in the period by the emerging rookie Frederik Andersen, whos gaining serious traction for playoff use with a 19-5 showing this season that included three consecutive wins in Hillers absence.
Andersen entered to cheers, irking some Ducks, but he was suffering from a headache during the second intermission, and Hiller returned to stop all eight shots he faced in the third period.
Hiller did not talk to reporters after the game.
His Ducks (50-19-8) clinging to a one-point Pacific Division lead over San Jose, with the Sharks hosting Nashville on Saturday, Anaheim Coach Bruce Boudreau said its “too early” to assess postseason goalie use.
“Weve got five more [regular season] games,” Boudreau said. “Lets see how it suits out, who the opposition is going to be, what the goalies records are against them. How theyre playing going into the playoffs is going to be a factor...”
Yet Ducks veterans Ryan Getzlaf and Francois Beauchemin defended Hiller, with defenseman Beauchemin calling the Ducks third straight multi-goal deficit a “team-wide defensive” issue, not a goalie problem.
“Were not starting games on time,” Getzlaf said. “I wish I could pinpoint it, its a matter of each individual looking at themselves. We should be ready at the drop of the puck.
“Jonas has played unbelievably all season. Tonight, we didnt help him. We didnt stick up for him, answer the bell. The guys battled for us all season, hes going to have a bad night once and again.”
Hiller was greeted at 5:36 in when Nashville center Colin Wilson charged, shot, pressed forward and saw the puck strike off Hillers left leg pad to the goal.
Ducks defenseman Luca Sbisa couldve done a better job clearing a puck that Wilson backhanded past Hiller for a 2-0 lead, but there was no excuse for the backhand that Mike Fisher scored on 1:09 later for a 3-0 lead.
The Ducks overcame 4-0 and 2-0 deficits in their last two games, and forward Kyle Palmieri scored his 13th goal to make it 3-1 on a crisp backhanded pass by Patrick Maroon.
But Hiller simply didnt have it and was beat again in a near repeat of Fishers goal when Nashvilles Patrik Hornqvist collected a puck off the boards behind the net and delivered a backhanded goal again to Hillers left. The Predators (34-32-11) escaped the Central Division cellar with the win.
“I always expect more, but I didnt expect the team to make the mistakes [it did], either,” Boudreau said. “I saw [the Predators] score on their first shot and then I saw everything deflate, like, ‘Oh, no, were fighting from behind again … And thats where it ended up.”
Beauchemin agreed, lamenting the “clear shots” Nashville took at Hiller. “We have a game plan, we have to execute it,” he said. “We follow the plan, we win games.”
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Time: 7:19  |  News Code: 395001  |  Site: L. A. Times
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