Anaheim Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth found a way to remain perfect in his NHL career.
Fasth stopped three of six shootout attempts to become the first goalie in eight years to win his first five starts, as he backstopped the Ducks to a 6-5 shootout win over the struggling St. Louis Blues on Saturday.
In his first four games, Fasth was nearly impenetrable. He entered Saturday’s game first in the NHL in goals-against average (1.06) and save percentage (.957), having allowed only five goals. Against the Blues, Fasth gave up five goals on 31 shots, but he managed to get the win.
”It’s not all peaches and cream,” Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. ”Thing is he won, and that’s all that counts. (Former Boston goalie) Gerry Cheevers once said he wouldn’t have cared if it was 1-0 or 10-9. He (Fasth) made that save to win the game.”
Fasth had plenty of help from his teammates. Bobby Ryan had two goals and two assists and Teemu Selanne had a goal and three assists. Andrew Cogliano and Saku Koivu also scored, and Nick Bonino had the deciding tally in the shootout for the Ducks on their sixth attempt.
”We needed these two points; that was essential,” Ryan said. ”We played better tonight. It’s a big night for us.”
Chris Stewart and Alexander Steen each had a goal and two assists for St. Louis.
David Backes had a goal and an assist for the Blues, who have dropped four straight. David Perron and T.J. Oshie also scored.
”We started well, we finished well,” Steen said. ”In the middle of the game, we let them back in.”
Ryan understands the Blues’ situation.
”I’ve been in the position that team is in when you’re just playing well and you’re not winning games,” Ryan said. ”It’s tough for them, I know. We’ve been there. It feels good to be in this locker room.”
Despite the loss, St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock saw things he liked.
”We competed for 65 minutes at a very high level,” Hitchcock said. ”We played a heck of a hockey game.”
While Fasth is soaring, St. Louis’ Brian Elliott continued to struggle. After leading the NHL in GAA and save percentage last season, Elliott was 39th and 42nd in those categories before Saturday.
His numbers got worse after he allowed five goals on 23 shots to the Ducks.
Elliott gave up a goal to Ryan on Anaheim’s first shot at 11:09 of the first period. He appeared to settle down after that, as St. Louis built a 3-1 lead.
But the Ducks wiped out their deficit and took their first lead by scoring three times on three shots in a span of 2:21 in the second period.
Selanne started the run when he put in a deflection with Elliott out of position at 12:40. Just 45 seconds later, Cogliano scored. Ryan then beat Elliott at 14:21 to make it 4-3.
St. Louis trailed 5-4 when Stewart tied the game with a power-play goal at 15:26 of the third.
NOTES: Blues D Wade Redden was presented with a silver stick and a watch before the game in honor of his becoming the 280th NHL player to play in 1,000 games. Redden reached the milestone Thursday against Detroit. … Anaheim is 2-1 on its six-game road trip. … St. Louis announced that forward Jamie Langenbrunner will need hip surgery and will miss the rest of the season.