On the road, going into Chicago to play a team that remains undefeated in regulation, you would think the Ducks would have been nervous and intimated. They weren't. Instead, the Ducks held their own against the best team in the NHL and came out with a 3-2 win in a shootout.
"It was pretty much a test for us to see where we stand," said goaltender Viktor Fasth. "I think we showed ourselves that we are a really good team and we can beat every team in the league."
Having Fasth in net for the Ducks has certainly helped that endeavor. Fasth has won all six of his starts and is getting more time in net because Jonas Hiller remains out with a lower body injury. Even if Hiller were 100%, Fasth has more than earned his net time.
"His demeanor is so calm and he settles everything down when he's on top of his game," said coach Bruce Boudreau. "He instills confidence in the players in front of him."
There is no question that Anaheim is playing with confidence these days. They beat the St. Louis Blues in a shootout on Saturday after being down 3-1. They had to come back in this game as well. Instead of crumbling or giving in, they have persevered and are being rewarded for their patience and hard work.
After a scoreless first period, the Ducks got on the scoreboard first with a power play goal from Ryan Getzlaf at 3:33. Technically Brent Seabrook had an assist, but they don't usually credit the other team for the opponent's goal. It was the first shot that got behind Corey Crawford and was nearly the only shot to make it past the tenacious netminder.
Chicago tied up the game on a power play goal of their own from Nick Leddy at 10:17. They took the lead thanks to Brandon Saad on a weird goal less than :30 later.
Saad got the puck on net and as it headed over the goal line, the net was knocked off its moorings. Fasth was at the bottom of a huge pile up in the crease and it was unclear if the puck actually crossed the line. The ruling on the ice was no goal.
After a long video review in Toronto, it was determined that the puck actually did cross the line before the net was knocked off the moorings completely. Although the net was technically still connected to the posts, it was bending backwards, in process of dislodging. Nonetheless, the goal stood, whether or not Anaheim agreed with or liked the ruling.
"That was a tough pill to swallow," said Andrew Cogliano, who tied up the game with less that three minutes remaining in the third period. "But the main thing is we kept going and got [the win]."
Kept going they did. They threw everything on Crawford, but only Cogliano's shot squeaked past.
The Ducks were kept on their heels when Toni Lydman was assessed a penalty with just :09.8 seconds remaining in the game. After killing that off as a 4 on 3 in overtime, Lydman almost immediately returned to the box with a high sticking penalty. The Ducks were able to kill off both penalties successfully (thank you Fasth!) and took the Blackhawks to a shootout.
It was the second shootout in a row for the Ducks and they were just as successful this time as they were against the Blues. Nick Bonino, who had the game winner in the shootout on Saturday, got the first nod for the Ducks and is now two for two in the shootout. Corey Perry also got his shot in over Crawford. Fasth, who could not stop Jonathan Toews shot, was able to stop the next two shooters and the win was Anaheim's.
Anaheim is now 3-1-0 on this road trip with two more tough games ahead before they can go home. Detroit is up next, a building where they have won only a handful of times in the regular season. Literally. In 20 years, they are 3-25-8 at Joe Louis Arena.
Maybe having Fasth in net will make it four. If the Ducks keep playing this well, anything is possible.