After a powerful 2-0 start on the road and a disappointing 5-0 home opener loss on Friday night, the Anaheim Ducks sought to get back to their winning ways. After being out penalized nine to one the night before, the Ducks focused on the importance of special teams heading into Saturday’s contest against the Nashville Predators.
The Ducks also made another change before the game started. Instead of starting his number one goaltender Jonas Hiller, coach Bruce Boudreau decided to start Viktor Fasth, who was making his NHL debut.
Fasth, 30, said he found out about his “two days ago, I think.”
Even with a couple days of preparation, Fasth got off to a shaky start when Brandon Yip put one in his net less than two minutes into the game. After that though, Fasth seemed to find his footing.
Fasth commented on settling into the game, “They had their first goal on the first shot, I think. That was pretty much a wake up call.”
Meanwhile, the Ducks only took one penalty in the period, which they killed, and found themselves on the power play twice. Unfortunately, the Ducks were unable to capitalize on either opportunity (and spent more time in their own zone than on the offensive).
The Ducks had yet another power play opportunity in the second and were still unable to make the most of their advantage. However, on the plus side, the Ducks didn’t take any penalties in the period and Fasth blocked everything that came his way.
With a mere thirty-three second remaining in the period, Bobby Ryan tipped the puck into the net of Pekka Rinne and ended the Ducks shutout streak just shy of the hundred-minute mark.
Coach Bruce Boudreau mentioned, “After four periods we didn’t have a goal, so I was beginning to think we’d run into another hot goaltender.”
With the game tied at one heading into the third, the Preds took the lead just past the halfway point in the period off a shot from David Legwand. However, just 1:03 later Daniel Winnik tied it back up with his fifth goal of the season.
“It was just simply driving the net,” Winnik declared, regarding his goal.
Neither regulation nor overtime could determine a winner, so the game went into a shootout. Corey Perry ended up with the game-winner in the second round and Fasth was able to stop all three attempts and earned a 3-2 victory in his first NHL game.
“I just tried to do my job,” Fasth stated, “Winning, that’s what you play hockey for. That’s what counts.”
Another contributing factor to the win was the fact that the Ducks PK unit killed every power play they faced.
On the improvement of the PK, Boudreau said, “The guys got mad. They don’t like getting scored on all the time. They know it’s an honor to be on the PK.”
The Ducks will try to continue improving their special teams and attempt to sting together back-to-back wins for the second time this season on Tuesday when they visit the San Jose Sharks.
Viktor Fasth become the 21st goalie in the history of the Ducks’ organization and stopped 19-of-21 shots in his debut.
Daniel Winnik became the first player in club history to score five goals in the first four games of the regular season.