By Kyle Shohara
There will be a familiar face in the crease tonight as the Ducks host the Edmonton Oilers at Honda Center.
Viktor Fasth is scheduled to start in goal for the first time in 11 days, and the first against his former teammates since being traded to Edmonton on March 4 for a fifth-round pick in 2014 and a third-round pick in 2015.
The 31-year-old netminder spent parts of two seasons here in Anaheim after signing as a free agent in May 2012. Last season, Fasth became just the third goaltender in NHL history to win his first eight or more career decisions (also Ray Emery with Ottawa, an NHL record 9-0-0 from 2003-05 and Bob Froese with Philadelphia, 8-0-0 in January 1983). He finished the season with a 15-6-2 record, 2.18 goals-against average and .921 save percentage.
Fasth has appeared in four games with the Oilers, posting a 2-1-1 record with a 2.76 GAA and .899 SV%.
After their morning skate, the Ducks commented on what it’s going to be like facing Fasth. “It’ll be fun,” said Matt Beleskey. “It’s always fun hoping to get one past him. You also want to see the guy do good, but maybe not tonight.”
“It’s going to be fun, but I haven’t had the chance to shoot on him much,” said Mathieu Perreault, noting his arrival to the team coupled with Fasth’s injuries. “I knew him as a guy off the ice, but on the ice I didn’t know him as much. It’ll be good tonight.”
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau says it’s only natural for a player to want to ramp up his game against his former team.
“I gotta believe he’ll be a little motivated,” he said. “It’s always the case. It’s the first game back against old teammates and friends. Quite frankly, we know how good he can play when he’s on top of his game. We feel he’ll be on top of his game tonight, so we’re going to have to get a lot of shots on him to succeed.
“We’ve seen him win games by himself, so it’s definitely a challenge for us.”
FACING THE OILERS
It's been less than a week since the Ducks were denied a second point in a 4-3 overtime loss in Edmonton. Goalie Ben Scrivens made an eye-opening 48 saves in that game, and Andrew Ference scored the OT winner with 69 seconds remaining in the extra frame. The Ducks have won two in a row since then. Last night, the Oilers took the San Jose Sharks to the brink before succumbing late in regulation.
“It’s going to be a hard-fought game, just like the last time we played them,” said Beleskey. “They have a lot of skilled guys, so we’ll have to play good, sound defense. If you give them a chance, they’re going to score.”
FREDDIE GETS THE START
Rookie goaltender Frederik Andersen will make his third consecutive start tonight. Though he gave up four unanswered goals in Anaheim’s improbable comeback victory two nights ago, Andersen allowed his teammates to come all the way back to win it in overtime. The victory was his second in as many starts.
Boudreau says it’s not so much allowing Andersen to run with the ball as it is giving Jonas Hiller a breather.
“Hilly was a little mentally tired coming back from the Olympics,” he said. “His first game back was against St. Louis, and I thought a good rest of two or three games, or even four, might be apropos for him to get his game right back to where it should be.”
With that being said, the man in net tonight brings a sparking 18-5-0 record to the table. Andersen ranks first among rookie goalies in wins (18), second in GAA (2.28) and third in SV% (.924) (min. 10 games).
EXPECTED LINE COMBINATIONS
Nick Bonino-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry
Patrick Maroon-Mathieu Perreault-Kyle Palmieri
Andrew Cogliano-Saku Koivu-Jakob Silfverberg
Matt Beleskey-Rickard Rakell-Teemu Selanne
Hampus Lindholm-Ben Lovejoy
Francois Beauchemin-Stephane Robidas
Bryan Allen-Luca Sbisa
The Ducks have earned points in seven straight games vs. the Oilers (6-0-1). Anaheim owns a 44-34-7 all-time record vs. Edmonton, including a 24-16-3 mark at Honda Center.