Ducks rookie goaltender Viktor Fasth makes a save on a shot by the Minnesota… (Jeff Gross / Getty Images )
Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau isn't calling the goaltender competition between established veteran Jonas Hiller and superb rookie Viktor Fasth a controversy.
"It's a blessing," Boudreau said.
Fasth, a 30-year-old rookie formerly of the Swedish Elite League, shut out Colorado after 31 shots on goal Wednesday night as the Ducks posted a 3-0 road win to improve their record to 7-1-1 — good enough for first place in the Pacific Division and also the second-best mark in the NHL.
Fasth is now 4-0 with four goals allowed, forcing Boudreau to veer from his preseason plan to lean on Hiller extensively. Now the coach is installing something close to a platoon.
Fasth is expected to start at least once during the back-to-back swing to Dallas on Friday and St. Louis on Saturday.
Asked how he can justify removing Fasth now, after the Swede also beat the high-powered San Jose Sharks on Monday, Boudreau said, "I can take him out. Hilly is a great goalie too, and we're going to need both of them to get through these 39 games."
Hiller "played in 73 games last year, and at the point when the season began, I believed there was every reason to think he could play 41 or 42," Boudreau said Thursday about this lockout-shortened, 48-game season.
"That has changed now. Fasth was an unknown when the season began. But now we've established we have the luxury of having another good goalie. And I hope I'm smart enough to adjust."
Boudreau said he and Hiller "have talked this week, fairly extensively" about where things stand.
"Jonas Hiller is no dummy. He knows how good Viktor looks," Boudreau said. "Jonas wants to get back into the net, just like some of those other goalies, in Vancouver … and Carolina. He'll be back in there, and it could be this weekend."
The Ducks rank second in the NHL with 3.4 goals per game. Daniel Winnik and Sheldon Souray have combined for nine goals. Veterans Teemu Selanne, 42, and Saku Koivu have combined for 21 points. Captain Ryan Getzlaf has a five-game scoring streak.
And veteran defenseman Francois Beauchemin might be playing best of all, a key with defender Cam Fowler sidelined by a head injury and not expected back until Tuesday's game at NHL points leader Chicago, at the earliest.
When: 5:30. Where: American Airlines Center.
On the air: TV: Fox Sports West. Radio: 830 AM.
Record vs. Stars (2011-12): 1-5.
Etc.: Ducks veteran Teemu Selanne (10 points) renews acquaintances with 40-year-old Stars veteran Jaromir Jagr, who scored the overtime winner Wednesday in the second consecutive victory for the Stars (5-5-1).