The Ducks have seen this Jonas Hiller before, and, ironically, it is when the new calendar year begins.
Like he did last January when he took his game to a level that got him his first All-Star game appearance, Hiller is as hot as it gets after making 43 saves to match his season high in a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night.
Hiller has won five straight starts and is 6-0-1 with a 1.50 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage in his last eight appearances. His top-notch goaltending was especially needed on a night when the Ducks didn't have much in the tank after beating Ottawa the day before.
After not recording his 10th victory until Jan. 6 and watching his goals-against soar over 3.00, Hiller is now 15-17-7 with a 2.85 goals-against. Ducks winger Bobby Ryan admitted that "we needed him to answer the bell" after being outshot, 45-18.
"I think he's seeing the puck very well," Ryan said. "He's been a great backstop over the nine-game run we're on. You don't want to speak too soon (but) if he continues to do it, some good things can happen.
"We'll just continue to count on him back there because he hasn't let us down much."
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau wondered aloud last week why Hiller wasn't selected as one of the NHL's three stars from games played from Jan. 9-15 and now he figures he has more ammunition to state his case.
"In this run, he's been spectacular," Boudreau said. "I'm putting my dibs in right now. If he's not player of the week, player of the month here ... it's bad enough they don't even sometimes know we exist out here in Anaheim that I'm learning quickly.
"I hope they do take notice of how well he's played and give him some recognition."
When asked if he felt he's playing at his best this season, Hiller deflected the praise.
"I think that the whole team is playing its best hockey, which makes life easier for me too," he said. "We block more shots. We're closer to the guys. They don't turn the puck over that often. ... It's easier to play if everybody plays with confidence."
--Toni Lydman was a late scratch on the Ducks' blue line when he fell ill before Sunday's contest against Colorado after playing Saturday afternoon against Ottawa. Lydman will accompany the team to Dallas and is expected to play Tuesday night against the Stars. Little-used Nate Guenin, who was called up from minor league Syracuse on Jan. 18, drew in and played a solid 11 minutes on the third pairing alongside Sheldon Brookbank. It was Guenin's 10th game with the Ducks this season. "I thought Nate stepped in and did a real good job," coach Bruce Boudreau said.
--The Ducks sent young right wing Kyle Palmieri back to Syracuse of the American Hockey League, where he scored twice for the Crunch in their loss Sunday to the Wilkes-BarreScranton Penguins. Palmieri was recalled on Friday night as insurance in case winger Jason Blake could not play after being struck by a shot Wednesday against Phoenix. Palmieri did not dress and has had a minimal impact at the NHL level but has 23 goals for Syracuse to rank as one of the AHL's top goal scorers.
--Teemu Selanne continues to reach a new milestone seemingly with each game he plays. Selanne had an assist against Colorado to give him 733 for his career, breaking a tie with Rod Brind'Amour to pull into sole possession of 44th place. He is one assist short of tying Bernie Nicholls and is now six points shy of moving into a tie with Brett Hull for 21st place on the all-time scoring list. Selanne, who has four goals and five assists in his last nine games, now has 1,385 points.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was a tough game. Colorado played pretty hard. We were doing our best imitation of Muhammad Ali tonight." -- Coach Bruce Boudreau after his team beat Colorado 3-2 while being outshot 45-19.
--G Jonas Hiller tied a season high with 43 saves in defeating Colorado to win his fifth straight start. In his last eight appearances, Hiller has stopped 197 of the 208 shots he has faced for a .947 save percentage while recording a 1.50 goals-against average.
--C Ryan Getzlaf scored a goal and an assist against Colorado, giving him three points in his last two games and nine points in his last nine. Getzlaf has just two goals over his last 21 games but is a plus-4 over his last nine contests.
--LW Bobby Ryan scored twice to continue his latest scoring spurt. Ryan has four goals in his last five games and nine in his last 13 contests. Ryan also had his shorthanded goal of the season and has five multi-goal games in 2011-12.
--RW Devante Smith-Pelly is back in Anaheim to do his rehab after breaking a bone in his left foot on Dec. 26 while playing for Team Canada in the World Junior Championships. Smith-Pelly was injured while blocking a shot and is expected to be out of action for up to six weeks.
--G Dan Ellis revealed that he has a tear of his groin muscle and his original timetable of four weeks is "on the low end." Ellis has had a groin issue throughout the season but he aggravated it during a practice two weeks ago.
--LW Matt Beleskey has missed the last two games due to a swollen right hand that he incurred when he was hit by a shot Wednesday against Phoenix. He's played in 40 of a possible 47 games this season, missing three at the start of the year because of a shoulder injury and being a healthy scratch twice.
--Francois Beauchemin, Cam Fowler
--Luca Sbisa, Lubomir Visnovsky
--Nate Guenin, Sheldon Brookbank
--LW Bobby Ryan, C Ryan Getzlaf, RW Corey Perry
--LW Niklas Hagman, C Saku Koivu, RW Teemu Selanne
--LW Jason Blake, C Nick Bonino, RW Andrew Cogliano
--LW Rod Pelley, C Mark Bell, RW George Parros