Viktor Fasth is a stopper for Ducks in debut
The nameplate above Viktor Fasth’s locker is misspelled, but the Ducks’ new backup goaltender established his identity to everyone else Saturday.
Fasth stopped all three shootout attempts by the Nashville Predators in his NHL debut, definitively stopping and gloving with his right hand a final effort by David Legwand to clinch the triumph.
“I feel great,” Fasth said on the ice afterward. “That’s why you want to be a goalie.”
Corey Perry rifled the game-winner in the shootout, wristing a shot to the left of Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne.
After the Ducks’ 5-0 loss to Vancouver on Friday, Coach Bruce Boudreau started Fasth at goaltender — the desire to get the newcomer some action helped by the fact starter Jonas Hiller surrendered 12 goals in the first three games.
While Fasth, the two-time goalie of the year in the Swedish Elite League, was scored upon 1:52 into his NHL debut, he rebounded strongly and saved 19 of 21 shots through overtime.
Nashville right wing Brandon Yip took a faceoff pass that eluded Ducks defenseman Bryan Allen and slapped a shot that deflected off Fasth to the goaltender’s right. Yip recovered the puck and slid it low past Fasth for a 1-0 lead.
Fasth was solid from that point forward, stopping Martin Erat at point-blank range in the second period along with 11 other shots during that stretch.
He also swatted away a shot by the crease by Mike Fisher early in the third, knocked another shot into the stands, and stopped an effort by Rich Clune that lingered on the blue ice at Fasth’s feet.
Most impressively, he stifled a third-period power play by blocking a backward redirect effort by Patric Hornqvist.
A night after committing a dozen penalties and letting in three power-play goals, the Ducks supported Fasth by navigating the first two periods with only one penalty.
They had three power-play opportunity themselves during that span, but each was killed off.
Ducks right wing Bobby Ryan grimaced after the first one when his soft
shot near the two-minute expiration was collected by Rinne.
Later in the period, Perry and Kyle Palmieri were both rebuffed by Rinne despite firing next to the crease.
The second power play ended without the Ducks even getting a shot on goal, the angst against a nemesis heightening after Rinne and his mates beat the Ducks
in all four meetings last season and eliminated them in six games in the 2010-11 playoffs.
Perry unloaded two more blasts at Rinne in the second period, but neither struck net.
Then, just as the second sellout crowd in two nights began dreading a second straight shutout loss, Ryan redirected a slap shot from defenseman Cam Fowler past Rinne with 32.4 seconds left in the second.
The goal was set up by veteran Teemu Selanne, who knocked down Nashville’s Mike Fisher as a pass wrapped behind the goal, past the fallen Fisher, to Fowler. Selanne was credited with an assist.
The teams then each scored goals within a 63-second span in the third.
Nashville took a 2-1 lead when Legwand followed a hard slap shot fired by Kevin Klein that deflected off Fasth.
The Ducks responded as Perry took a pass from Saku Koivu and delivered a crisp assist in front of Rinne to Daniel Winnik, who pushed his team-best fifth goal of the season past Rinne’s left side.
Winnik is the first Duck ever to have five goals through four games.
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