Thursday, February 7, 2013
Need to know: Ducks off to a Fasth start
By Scott Burnside
• On a rare light night in the league, Swedish goaltending sensation Viktor Fasth earned his first NHL shutout, stopping all 31 Colorado shots en route to a 3-0 victory. The win moved the surprising Ducks to 7-1-1 as Fasth has quickly surpassed incumbent Jonas Hiller as the Ducks’ starting netminder, rolling to a 4-0-0 record in his first NHL season. He leads the league with a 0.98 goals-against average and .962 save percentage. The Ducks continue to get offensive help from the back end as both Sheldon Souray, with his fourth, and Francois Beauchemin scored. The Ducks are tied for second in the league and tied for first in the Western Conference with St. Louis in goals scored per game. The Avs, meanwhile, cannot find enough offense to keep themselves in a playoff position as they rank 27th in goals per game, highlighting the need to sign restricted free agent Ryan O’Reilly. The Avs are 4-6-0.
• Terrific tilt between longtime rivals at the Bell Centre in Montreal as Tuukka Rask continued to reinforce the "Tim Thomas who?" sentiment felt by the conference-leading Bruins. The Finnish netminder moved his record to 6-1-1 by stopping 20 of 21 Montreal shots as the Bruins overcame a one-goal deficit to defeat the surprising Habs 2-1. The Canadiens’ P.K. Subban got his first goal of the season, on the power play, and netminder Carey Price overcame a hard shot to the nether regions during warm-ups to turn in a 21-stop performance, but it wasn’t enough as the Bruins cemented their position as the top team in the East, pushing their record to 7-1-1.
• The Dallas Stars have put together their first two-game winning streak of the season after edging Edmonton 3-2 in overtime on Jaromir Jagr’s winner. Since Jamie Benn has returned after resolving contract issues, the Stars have won three of four and sneaked back into the top eight in the Western Conference. Benn had a goal and assisted on Jagr’s overtime winner. Stars netminder Kari Lehtonen has quietly run his record to 5-2-1, stopping 27 of 29 shots. The Oilers, meanwhile, have gone 0-1-3 with two overtime losses and a shootout loss during a four-game sideways stretch. On the one hand, they continue to collect points -- they have only three regulation losses on the season -- but they are also allowing valuable points to slip away in extra time. The Oilers are now 4-3-3, while the Stars moved to 5-5-1.