Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth wrote another chapter in his Cinderella story on Tuesday night, stopping 28 of 30 shots (and two of three shootout attempts) in a 3-2 win over the NHL’s first-place team, the Chicago Blackhawks.
The win moved Fasth to 6-0-0 on the year, not bad for a 30-year-old rookie that once toiled in Sweden’s lower-tier leagues.
Anaheim head coach Bruce Boudreau marveled at Fasth’s unlikely story following the Chicago win.
“You mean that he’s 30 and he played in Sweden and no one ever heard of him?” Boudreau told the Chicago Daily Herald. “That’s probably the best part. That includes me.
“To start the season, I didn’t even know what we had.”
In fairness to Boudreau, not many in North America did.
Fasth burst onto the scene with Swedish Elite League outfit AIK in 2010-11. Since then, he won back-to-back Honken Trophies, awarded annually to the top goalie in Sweden — the only other multiple winners are New York’s Henrik Lundqvist and former Lightning goalie Johan Holmqvist.
He’s starred internationally as well. At the 2011 World Hockey Championships, Fasth posted a 1.71 GAA and .946 save percentage, capturing MVP honors despite losing the gold medal game to Finland.
The Ducks gave him a modest one-year, $1 million deal in May with the hopes he’d be Jonas Hiller’s backup for the year.
Needless to say, he’s exceeded expectations. Fasth sits fifth in the league in goals-against average (1.74), eighth in save percentage (.933) and has been Anaheim’s goalie of record in six of the last nine games.
That play has drawn the highest of praises from Boudreau.
“[Fasth’s] demeanor is so calm,” he said. “He settles everything down when he’s on top of his game. He moves very Carey Price-ish, like side to side, almost robotic.
“It’s been such a pleasant surprise.”