The Anaheim Ducks are off to an amazing start to the 2013 season. Their 6-1-1 record would have them in first in most other divisions, but they share the Pacific Division with the 7-2-1 San Jose Sharks, who have two games in hand and fell to the Ducks on Tuesday night. One of the surprising reasons for Anaheim’s early-season success is the stellar play of rookie goaltender Viktor Fasth, who has proven to be a more than capable backup for Jonas Hiller.
Fasth has won the first three starts of his NHL career, allowing a total of just four goals. He has stood tall against some of the league’s top teams: the Sharks, Nashville Predators and Minnesota Wild. He now boasts a ridiculous 1.30 goals against average (lowest amongst goalies with more than two appearances) and a .946 save percentage (second only to Craig Anderson of the Ottawa Senators amongst goalies with more than two appearances).
Few NHL fans had even heard of Fasth before this season, as he had not played in North America before the start of the 2012-13 campaign. He had gotten on the Ducks’ radar after two great seasons with AIK of the Swedish Elite League and an appearance for Team Sweden at the 2011 World Championships. He helped the team earn a silver medal with three shutouts and a 1.71 goals against average, good enough to earn him the MVP for the tournament as well as being named the best goaltender. He made three AHL appearances for the Norfolk Admirals during the lockout, with a 1-2 record and a 1.96 goals against average.
Now that Hiller appears to be back in form after dealing with vertigo in past seasons, the Ducks should have already been considered a team to beat in the Western Conference. The emergence of Fasth as a quality second option in net makes the team even more dangerous in this shortened season.