Anaheim Ducks rookie Viktor Fasth got his fourth start tonight against the Colorado Avalanche, as well as his fourth win, and first shutout. Not a bad night for the 30-year-old rookie. Perhaps most importantly the Ducks got two points while denying the Avalanche any points of their own.
The Ducks got off to a good start with a goal in the 1st period coming from blueliner Sheldon Souray, who blasted a shot from the point for his fourth of the season. Saku Koivu would add to the Ducks lead with a power play goal that came from a pass from Teemu Selanne, a pass that would be a landmark for the Finnish Flash, marking his 750th career assist.
In the 2nd period the Ducks would further build their lead when Francois Beauchemin would take a pass in the slot from Daniel Winnik, and bury it in the Avalanche net. That would be the end of the scoring for either team, despite a shot that came from Kyle Palmieri that appeared to be a goal, but was not called as such on the ice. The ruling was not overturned in video review as it was concluded that there was not indisputable video evidence.
While the stat sheet seemed to show the Ducks dominated the game offensively, there’s no disputing that tonight’s game was about Viktor Fasth. The Avalanche were without Gabriel Landeskog, (injury), or Ryan O’Reilly, (contract issues), but still managed to test the Ducks netminder with 31 shots, 11 more than Anaheim. Fasth wouldn’t budge however and provided some huge saves that would allow him to get his first career shutout.
The difference in shots was somewhat indicative of how well Anaheim played, (or didn’t). While Anaheim certainly did make the most of chances, they weren’t always the most defensively responsible. Thankfully, when the Ducks did have a defensive breakdown, Fasth was there to save the day. Fasth is giving Bruce Boudreau good reason to consider giving him more starts, and will also hopefully inspire Jonas Hiller to improve the consistency of his play. If these guys play to their potential, the Anaheim Ducks could end up with one of the elite goaltending tandems in the NHL this year, and perhaps for the next few.
Anaheim is giving the impression in this young season that they made all the right moves during the offseason as three of the offseason acquisitions found their way onto tonight’s stat sheet. With tonight’s win the Ducks move to second place in the NHL standings, tied with the San Jose Sharks and the Boston Bruins. The Ducks sit 3 points behind the first place Chicago Blackhawks, who the Ducks will face in Chicago, on Tuesday. Before getting there however the Ducks will have to play in Dallas and St. Louis in back-to-back games.