The Anaheim Ducks can win their first Pacific Division banner since 2007 with a win tonight in Edmonton — and they’re turning to their 30-year-old rookie netminder to get it done.
Viktor Fasth will get the start in goal, one night after Jonas Hiller stopped 27 of 28 shots for a 3-1 win against the Oilers.
The Ducks head into tonight on 62 points, five clear of third-place Vancouver, meaning a win would also lock up second overall in the Western Conference.
Anaheim has just one Pacific Division banner in franchise history and has missed the postseason in two of the last three years, so tonight’s game carries some weight — especially since the Ducks haven’t been playing well as of late.
They’re just 5-4-1 in their last 10 and head coach Bruce Boudreau was visibly disappointed following Friday’s 3-1 loss to Calgary, noting that the recent poor run of play prevented Anaheim from a division title that should’ve been wrapped a while ago.
“We’re certainly not going to (win the division, finish second in the West) playing the way we did the first two periods,” Boudreau explained. “I couldn’t have cared less if we were playing a midget team or the Russian national team.
“We needed the win and that should have been motivation enough.”
If Fasth stands tall tonight, Boudreau could be faced with a tough decision come playoff time. Both goalies have been strong this year and boast excellent statistics (Fasth: 14-5-2, 2.20 GAA, .921 save percentage; Hiller: 14-6-4, 2.42 GAA, .910 save percentage).
Boudreau has also played both pretty evenly down the stretch. Over the last eight games, Fasth has been the goalie of record four times…and Hiller has been the goalie of record four times.