The Anaheim Ducks started the season 6-1-1 which was their best start since the 2006-2007 Stanley Cup Championship season. However, they left the cozy Honda Center ice for a six game, 12 day road trip. Four games into the trip the Ducks are soaring winning 3 out of 4 games including two overtime thrillers. The major reason is the emergence of rookie goaltender Viktor Fasth who has won his first 6 starts including three overtime shootouts to help vault the Ducks into first place in the Pacific Division Standings with a 9-2-1 record.
Fasth has taken over the #1 goalie spot due to a lower body injury suffered by goalie Jonas Hiller in a 3-1 loss to the Dallas Stars. Fasth has a GAA of 1.74 and a .933 save percentage this season. He started out the road trip earning his first career shutout stopping all 31 Colorado Avalanche shots in a 3-0 victory. After the Ducks 3-1 loss to Dallas, the team bounced back to earn a thrilling shootout victory of 6-5 over the St. Louis Blues. This was Fasth’s only poor showing in net this season, allowing five goals on 31 shots by the Blues and still picking up the W. The rookie netminder bounced back Tuesday night stopping 28 of 30 shots and 2 of 3 shots in a 3-2 shootout victory over the league-leading Chicago Blackhawks. Fasth will continue to be tested as he will most likely be in net for the Ducks game against the Detroit Red Wings Friday night, and also in the final game of the road trip against the Nashville Predators on February 19th.
The question remains who will be the #1 goalie upon Hiller’s return? While Fasth is undefeated with sparkling numbers, Hiller, the incumbent goalie has been anything but stellar with a 3-2-1 record and a GAA of 3.69 with an .872 save percentage. Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau will have a tough decision to make upon Hiller’s return. Do you go with the hot glove of Fasth, or go back to Hiller, who has been the Ducks #1 goaltender since the 2008-2009 season. It may not be as dramatic of a decision as Jim Harbaugh’s decision to replace Alex Smith with Colin Kapernick which propelled the 49′ers to the Super Bowl, however Boudreau’s decision could play a major part in the team’s success this season. To be continued ….