In the biggest upset of the 2009 first round, the San Jose Sharks were unceremoniously upended by the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 of the matchup between the top-seeded Sharks and the 8th seeded Ducks. While many said before this series even started that Anaheim would be a tough matchup for San Jose, the Sharks had been so dominant all season long that it was widely believed that this would finally be the year they would shake off the playoff curse that has dogged them for the past few seasons. Instead, the Sharks ran into one of the hottest young goalies in the game today
Jonas Hiller was supposed to be JS Giguere’s backup goalie, but he stole Giguere’s job with stellar play in the second half of the regular season, and stole the show in this first round playoff series. Anaheim was outshot in every game this series, but was bailed out with two shutouts from Hiller, including a 35 save gem in his first career playoff game. In the games that Anaheim> won, Hiller allowed a total of 3 goals, giving up 7 in the two games that San Jose was able to win.
Game 6 was no different, as Hiller gave up one goal on 37 San Jose shots, while the Ducks got goals from Corey Perry, Teemu Selanne, Francois Beauchemin and Ryan Getzlaf. Getzlaf’s goal, the Ducks’ fourth and the final goal of the series, gave the young star a unique stat line at the end of the game, as it completed his Gordie Howe hat trick begun on the first shift of the game when he fought Sharks’ center and superstar Joe Thornton. Getzlaf got his assist in the first period, when he assisted Perry’s powerplay goal.
The Sharks suffered their largest playoff collapse to date, a difficult feat to pull off considering that they have failed to play successfully in the playoffs for a number of seasons in a row. However, this season’s failure is especially painful because the Sharks had proven all season long that they were the team to beat in the NHL this year, leading the league with 117 points and 53 wins, and taking home the President’s Trophy as the league’s best regular season squad. None of that means anything in the playoffs, however, and the Sharks will likely undergo some severe changes in the wake of their most recent playoff collapse. The Ducks, on the other hand, will be gearing up for their next round matchup against the now-top seeded Detroit Red Wings.