(Sports Network) - Viktor Fasth's incredible start to his NHL career began
when he was able to outduel Pekka Rinne, one of the top goaltenders in the
league, three weeks ago.
The two streaking netminders appear headed towards a rematch on Saturday
evening when Fasth's red-hot Anaheim Ducks visit Rinne and the Nashville
A 30-year-old rookie, Fasth has won each of his first seven decisions, the
longest winning streak to begin an NHL career since Dan Ellis' seven-game run
with Dallas and Nashville from Feb. 18, 2004-Dec. 1, 2007.
Fasth, the starting goaltender for the Swedish national team at the 2012 World
Championship and winner of two straight Honken Trophies as the Swedish Elite
League's Goaltender of the Year, signed a one-year deal with the Ducks on May
21 and has gone 7-0-0 with a 1.78 goals against average and .932 save
percentage in eight appearances.
That run began with his NHL debut on Jan. 26 at home versus the Predators and
he made 19 saves while stopping all three skaters faced in the shootout for a
3-2 win. The performance helped Anaheim snap a six-game skid versus Nashville.
Rinne was solid with 20 saves through overtime, but was beaten by Corey Perry
in the second round for the only shootout tally of the game.
Fasth, meanwhile, has made three straight starts with Jonas Hiller nursing a
lower body injury and could start again on Saturday despite having gotten the
call in Friday's 5-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings.
The Swede made 26 stops as the Ducks snapped an eight-game losing streak in
Detroit. Fasth also inched closer to Ray Emery's NHL record of nine straight
winning decisions to begin a career, set with Ottawa from Jan. 8, 2003-Nov.
Fasth got plenty of support, with Andrew Cogliano and Bobby Ryan scoring 48
seconds apart inside the opening two minutes of the third period to snap a 2-2
tie. Cogliano added an empty-net score, while Matt Beleskey and Perry also
tallied as Anaheim won its third straight and for the seventh time in eight
"When (the Red Wings) do make mistakes you have to capitalize," said Cogliano.
"We made a couple of plays we were able to intercept and come the other way
The Ducks wrap a six-game road trip on Saturday looking to win for the first
time in five trips to Nashville. The Preds have won six of their past eight at
home in this series and enter with Rinne in outstanding form.
The netminder has logged back-to-back shutouts and has three in his last four
starts, making 19 saves in Thursday's 3-0 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.
Rinne leads the NHL with three shutouts and has moved to 6-3-3 with a 1.61 GAA
and .938 save percentage this year. He has not allowed a goal in his last
137:41 of game action, which is 11:23 shy of his career best.
"I think right now I am just getting results," Rinne said. "I am feeling good,
but the team in front of me, they are playing so good."
Nashville looked like it might waste Rinne's efforts before Gabriel Bourque,
Nick Spaling and Mike Fisher all scored in the third period, lifting the Preds
to their second straight win. The club also moved to 6-1-1 in its past eight
and concludes a four-game homestand on Saturday.
Two of Rinne's 28 career shutouts have come versus the Ducks, who he is 9-2-3
against in 14 career meetings with a 1.95 GAA and .931 save percentage.
The Sports Network