CHICAGO – Viktor Fasth made his first career start last month and picked up the win. He posted his first shutout a week ago, and collected another victory last week despite allowing five goals.
The only constant through his first six starts is a string of victories for the Anaheim Ducks.
Fasth made two stops in the shootout to remain perfect and the Ducks beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on Tuesday night in a matchup of the top two teams in the Western Conference.
“You always try to work hard to get to play,” said Fasth, who signed with Anaheim in May. “I got to work hard every day to get my chances and to play when the coach wants me to play and try to help out the team as much as I can.”
After Jonathan Toews converted the first shootout attempt for Chicago, Fasth stopped Patrick Kane’s backhander and denied Brandon Saad on the right side of the goal to become the first goalie to win his first six NHL starts since Dan Ellis with Dallas and Nashville from Feb. 18, 2004, to Nov. 29, 2007.
Nick Bonino and Corey Perry scored in the tiebreaker for Anaheim, which improved to 3-1 on its season-high, six-game road trip. Ryan Getzlaf and Andrew Cogliano scored in regulation, and Fasth had 28 stops through overtime.
“They’re obviously a great team,” the 30-year-old goaltender said. “We knew that we had to be on top of our game to win today and that’s what we did.”
Brandon Saad and Nick Leddy had the goals for Chicago, which remained the only NHL team without a regulation loss. Corey Crawford made 29 saves in the first home game for the Blackhawks in two weeks.
“We were in a position to win that game,” Crawford said. “We played well. It’s tough to lose another one in the shootout like that.”
Chicago was in front 2-1 before Cogliano sent a deflected shot into the left side of the net with 2:40 left in the third after he had his helmet knocked off. It was the second goal in the last two games for Cogliano, and his second on the year.
“The first 15 minutes of the third period they played such a solid defensive game and we weren’t getting any opportunities,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “But sometimes when you believe, it only takes once chance and we got the one chance and we put it in.”
The Blackhawks (10-0-3) were on the power play for almost four minutes in overtime but couldn’t get the winning goal. Fasth made a nice stop on Patrick Sharp’s slap shot and a glove save on Marian Hossa.
“It was a tough game,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “They played hard, we worked hard, and weren’t at our best, but deserved what we got.”
Getzlaf put the Ducks in front with a power-play goal in the second, but the momentum shifted after Chicago forward Bryan Bickell levelled Getzlaf midway through the period. Brad Staubitz immediately jumped on Bickell to defend his teammate. He got a few punches in before Bickell took him to the ice, and the Blackhawks quickly jumped on Fasth for a pair of goals in their first home game since a 2-1 victory over Detroit on Jan. 27.
With Staubitz in the box serving an instigating penalty, Leddy sent a slap shot off the right post and into the goal for his second of the season at 10:17.
Saad then came down and sent a leaping wrister toward Fasth as he was going to the ice. The puck went off Fasth’s left shoulder and started trickling down his back. Luca Sbisa went to the ice to try to stop it from crossing the line as players both teams flocked into the goalmouth.
After a lengthy replay review, the officials announced the puck had crossed the line before the goal was knocked off its posts. As the Blackhawks celebrated Saad’s second of the year, Boudreau listened to an explanation from the referees.
“God only knows,” Boudreau said after the game. “They must have a better view. On the thing, you can see that it went in. I just don’t know if the intent to blow the whistle was there, or was it over the line completely before the peg came out.”
It looked as if that goal would be the difference until Cogliano tied it up in the third. He also scored in Anaheim’s 6-5 shootout win at St. Louis on Saturday.
NOTES: F Daniel Carcillo skated again Tuesday morning, and Quenneville said he might able to practice with the Blackhawks this week. Carcillo hasn’t played since he injured his right knee in the season opener against the Kings … Ducks G Jonas Hiller also skated Tuesday and remains day to day with a lower-body injury. … Chicago won three of four meetings with Anaheim last season, including both games at home.