By Adam Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ANAHEIM – Viktor Fasth could hardly have asked for more in his NHL debut, and neither could the Ducks.
The 30-year-old Swedish goalie saved 19 of 21 Nashville shots, and all three in a dramatic shootout, to secure a 3-2 Ducks victory in front of a delighted sellout crowd of 17,174 at Honda Center.
Fasth sealed his first career win with some flair, deflecting David Legwand’s final shootout attempt with the glove, then snatching it out of mid-air with that same left hand just in front of the goal mouth. That came just after Corey Perry put the Ducks ahead in the shootout, skating in from the right wing wall, then flipping it under Preds goalie Pekka Rinne.
Both plays – along with goals from Bobby Ryan and Daniel Winnik – were integral in giving Anaheim its third win in the first four games of the season.
“I feel great,” Fasth said when interviewed by rinkside reporter Kent French following his First Star of the Game honors. “I’ve been waiting 30 years for this.”
When asked how he felt when the game went to a shootout, Fasth confidently replied, “That’s why you want to be a goalie,” to the delight of the remaining crowd.
The Ducks had chances to put the game away in overtime, including a gorgeous move by Ryan to tap the puck to himself between his legs, but his backhand try was denied by Rinne. Meanwhile, Fasth was solid throughout the night.
"I just tried to do my job," said Fasth, getting the start as the Ducks rested Jonas Hiller in the second of a back-to-back. "The guys in front of me played incredibly good today. They helped me a lot out there, so they made it easy for me. They did a really good job today."
Nashville had taken a 2-1 lead halfway through the third period on a David Legwand rebound goal. Fasth was drawn out on a Kevin Klein slapshot that hit an Anaheim stick, and Legwand was able to maneuver around the netminder to backhand it in.
But the Ducks came roaring back just over a minute later, as Daniel Winnik (skating the final two periods on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry), tipped in a pretty Perry pass sent in from the left wing. Winnik became the first player in Ducks history to score five goals in the first four games of the season.
"It was just simply driving the net," Winnik said. "I thought Corey [Perry] had a good chance beating them wide and he did, and fortunately just got around Hal Gill and it just got by Rinne’s pad."
Nashville took its first advantage less than two minutes into the game, after Bryan Allen mishandled the puck at the Preds blueline. Brandon Yip went the other way on the rush, and although his first shot was stopped by Fasth, Yip followed up his own rebound with the backhand.
The Ducks did little to get the equalizer, including two unsuccessful power plays, until Ryan got his first of the season with a half-minute left in the second period. Cam Fowler sent the puck in from inside the blue line, and Ryan redirected it through with his stick blade, igniting a crowd that had been waiting for something to roar about.
They got loud once again when Fasth sealed the deal with his quick glove.
"He’s just as calm as a cucumber," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "I’ve never been a goalie and never want to be one, but that’s the demeanor that they have to have to be successful. Even in the shootout, I thought ‘Have a cup of coffee and wait for the guy to come down.’ He was pretty relaxed and made two really big saves. That’s good. It was a great debut for him and hopefully he’ll keep it up."
Anaheim’s 3-1-0 record to start the 2012-13 season is the best start since the 2006-07 season (3-0-1 through four games that year).
The Ducks’ 15 team goals through the first four games to start the 2012-13 regular season equals the largest team goal output through the four-game mark in club history (also 2006-07).
Anaheim travels to San Jose next week to take on the Sharks on Tuesday evening at HP Pavilion (7:30 p.m.). The club will then return home for a three-game homestand vs. Minnesota (Feb. 1), Los Angeles (Feb. 2) and San Jose (Feb. 4).
Making his NHL debut this evening stopping 19-of-21 shots in the shootout win (stopped all three attempts), Viktor Fasth became the 21st goaltender in club history to appear in a game for Anaheim.
Daniel Winnik is the first player in club history to score five goals in the first four games of any regular season campaign (5-1=6). The previous record was four goals through the first four games (also Lupul, 2005-06; Selanne, 1996-97; Kariya, 1995-96 & Rucchin, 1995-96). Winnik’s five goals on the season currently rank tied for second in the NHL.
With an assist on Winnik’s game-tying goal, Corey Perry also scored the shootout-winning goal, his eighth career game-deciding shootout goal. All-time, he is now 17-for-54 in shootouts (31.2%).
NSH David Legwand's attempt is NO GOOD, as Fasth tips it into the air with the glove, then snatches it out of mid-air.
ANA Corey Perry's attempt is GOOD! Skates in wide to the right, then flips it under Rinne.
NSH Mike Fisher's attempt is NO GOOD. Fired it into Fasth's leg pad.
ANA Ryan Getzlaf's attempt is NO GOOD. Tried to deke and shoot, right into Rinne.
NSH Martin Erat's attempt is NO GOOD. Fake shot, then wrister is off Fasth and over the net.
5:00 - Shootout time.
4:59 - Fasth stops an Ellis shot right before the horn. No, that wasn't scary at all.
3:30 - Sbisa tries to make a hero's feed to Koivu as he's taken down to the ground, but nothing comes of it.
2:00 - Ryan with a gorgeous move to tap the puck to himself between his legs, but Rinne denies the backhand. Could have hit the post.
0:30 - Nashville looking to put this one away early with some scary action around the Anaheim net.
0:00 - Here we go.
20:00 - Ducks and Preds battle in the corner as the clock hits zero. They each get a point. Both want more.
18:13 - Perry gets in way deep off a Getzlaf feed, but can't get off a shot or pass. That looked like it could be something. Seconds earlier, Nashville just missed a scoring chance on an errant pass.
16:22 - Ducks with a gargantuan penalty kill there.
14:22 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf, 2 min. closing the hand on the puck. Newly enforced rule this season gets Getzlaf.
13:45 - Getzlaf moves in for a backhand blockered away by Rinne.
11:12 - ANAHEIM GOAL - DANIEL WINNIK - Winnik benefits from skating on that top line, as Perry forces his way down the left wing before flipping the puck into the crease, where Winnik tips it in for his team-leading fifth of the season. Just like that, we're tied again.
10:09 - NASHVILLE GOAL - DAVID LEGWAND - Fasth is drawn out of the net to try and stop a Klein slap shot that hits a Ducks stick. Legwand picks up the rebound and moves around Fasth to backhand it in. It's 2-1 Nashville.
9:48 - Hornqvist is badly shaken up and had to be helped off the ice and into the tunnel. Not sure what happened.
5:25 - This PP already better than the last two, as Ryan whiffs trying to punch in a rebound.
5:17 - NSH Penalty - Hal Gill, 2 min. for being a very large human being. Kidding, 2 min. for tripping. Let's see what the Ducks can do with it.
Scoring change on the Ducks goal. They determined that Selanne tipped it just before Ryan redirected.
2:30 - ANA Penalty - Bryan Allen, 2 min. holding the stick. Scary moment in front of the Ducks net as the puck lays in the paint, but it's kicked out with help from Allen's penalty.
0:00 - Off and running in the third, tied at 1.
19:27 - ANAHEIM GOAL - BOBBY RYAN - Ryan gets his first of the year in pretty fashion, getting his stick blade on a Fowler pass from the point (that we later determine is tipped by Selanne) to redirect it past Rinne. Crowd was waiting to go berserk and they did just that. It's 1-1.
18:50 - Winnik skating with Perry and Getzlaf the last couple of shifts.
Just announced a sellout at 17,174. Nice.
15:15 - Perry gets in deep, tries a little backhand feed into the crease, but it's kicked away.
9:30 - Selanne, Ryan, Getzlaf, Perry and Souray, as the Ducks go with one D.
9:16 - NSH Penalty - Brandon Yip, 2 min. boarding. Yip shoulders Cogliano into the wall behind the Nashville net. Let's do this, boys.
8:05 - Perry slaps at a bouncing puck in the slot, but it's over the crossbar. Good in football, bad in hockey.
1:37 - Ducks survive it.
0:49 - Fasth with a great point blank save from the slot.
0:00 - Here we go in the second, Ducks on the PK.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Yip's goal makes it 1-0 Preds, who have 1:37 of power play time when we come back.
19:36 - ANA Penalty - Toni Lydman, 2 min. delay of game. Lydman pitchforks it over the glass.
18:56 - Nothing doing for the Ducks on that power play.
16:56 - NSH Penalty - Craig Smith, 2 min. throwing the stick. You can't do that.
14:40 - Lots of action in front of the Preds net, as Palmieri has a couple shots at it. Not sure what kept that out.
In case you wondered where Scotty is during games, tonight it's one row in front of me in the press box. Wasn't here last night. #NHLDucks
Just got a "What number is Carrie Underwood's husband?" text from a buddy I got tickets for tonight. He's on a date. I'll assume she asked.
12:05 - Staubitz wants to get into it with Clune, who drilled Beauchemin into the glass, even dropping the gloves in front of the net. Clune skates away though, and Staubitz is left to hustle back and pick them both up. Not something you see every day.
10:45 - Ryan with a pretty one-timer, just deflected into the glass.
10:20 - Palmieri with a nice feed to a streaking Perry, but it's under his stick.
8:10 - Second PP unit of Palmieri, Bonino, Ryan, Sbisa and Koivu out there now.
Can't see Nick Spaling's name without thinking of, "Spaulding! Get dressed, you're playing golf!"
6:28 - NSH Penalty - Nick Spaling, 2 min. slashing. Just before the stoppage, Lydman slaps a rolling puck into Rinne's mitt.
4:45 - Palmieri sprints down left wing and fires low on Rinne, knocked away.
1:52 - NASHVILLE GOAL - BRANDON YIP - Allen mishandles the puck at the blueline and Yips is off to the races, waiting out a sliding Fowler before firing. Fasth makes the stop, but Yip follows up his own rebound with the backhand. Nashville goes in front early.
FS West picks up our game immediately after Kings-Coyotes gets done.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
Fasth with his first career start tonight, as the Ducks play the second of a back to back. Starters in bold/italics.
SHEA WEBER (C)
MARTIN ERAT (A)
MIKE FISHER (A)
TEEMU SELANNE (A)
SAKU KOIVU (A)
RYAN GETZLAF (C)
1 - 0 NSH
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 NSH