Last Saturday, Viktor Fasth made his NHL debut as an Anaheim Duck. After a shaky start, Fasth ended up with a “W” after the Ducks ended up beating the Nashville Predators in a shootout.
However, Fasth, a Swedish native, is by no means of typical rookie age. Fasth, who turned 30 this past August, has been waiting a long time to make it to the big time.
He, who was never drafted in the NHL, had only played in the SEL (Swedish Elite League) up until signing his one-year contract with the Ducks. This was the NHL. This was his shot.
On Friday night, Fasth earned his second start, with the Minnesota Wild set as the opponent, and he was determined to prove to the Ducks’ coaches, players and fans, that his debut victory was not a fluke.
However, the first period of his second start loosely mimicked that of his first. It wasn’t the first shot he faced and it wasn’t in the first couple minutes of the game, but the Wild did get an early 1-0 lead on Fasth and the Ducks when Pierre-Marc Bouchard found himself with a wide-open shot that ended up going five-hole.
“I’m supposed to have that one,” Fasth stated. “You just have to focus on the next puck.”
Down by one heading into the second, the Ducks came out looking to even out the scoreboard. And just shy of seven minutes in, Kyle Palmieri tied things up, putting one past Wild goaltender, Niklas Backstrom. The second period ended tied at one and the result of the game would be decided in the final 20 minutes.
Early in the third, Palmieri struck again, this time on a beautiful pass from Teemu Selanne from behind the goal line, giving the Ducks their first lead of the game.
“Our line came down and came to work tonight,” Palmieri commented, regarding his line with Selanne and Bobby Ryan. “I think we played a full two-hundred foot game which translated into a couple goals for our line.”
Fasth faced a peppering of 13 shots in the third, stopping each and every one of them. To top it off Ryan, who assisted on each of Palmieri’s goals, netted a power play goal in the final two minutes of the game, giving Fasth and the Ducks a 3-1 victory.
Fasth, who stopped 26-of-27 shots during Friday’s contest, is now 2-0 in his NHL career and he feels like the more he plays, the better he’ll get.
“It’s been really fun to play two games so far,” Fasth declared. “I try to work hard every day in practice and it feels like the angles are better and better. I have to keep working.”
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau mentioned, “To me, he was fighting the puck a little bit. But when it counted, when we had a 2-1 lead, he made a big save in the third period. That’s what good goalies do. They make the big saves at the right time.”
The Ducks will open up the Freeway Faceoff series on Saturday when they host their cross-town rival, the Los Angeles Kings.
All about the “2′s”: It was only the 2nd time in his NHL career that Kyle Palmieri had a 2-goal game. It just so happened to also be his 22nd birthday.
“I might have to stay with it. Hopefully my year as a 22 year old will be a good one for me,” Palmieri joked.
In addition, Viktor Fasth became the first goaltender in Ducks history to win his first two career NHL starts.