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Ducks rookie Fasth shuts out Avs to improve to 4-0

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Feb 07 2013 10:01:10 AM CST
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DENVER -

Viktor Fasth is making the Anaheim Ducks look good and the rest of the NHL look bad.

Fasth stopped 31 shots for his first shutout in just his fourth NHL start, and Anaheim beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-0 Wednesday night.

Sheldon Souray and Saku Koivu had a goal and an assist each, and Francois Beauchemin added a goal for the Ducks, who have won four straight.

Fasth, who has won each of his starts, is quickly making a name for himself as a 30-year-old rookie. Anaheim (7-1-1) signed him as a free agent out of Sweden last summer and called him up two weeks ago. In his four appearances, he has a 0.98 goals-against average and a .962 save percentage.

He is the first goalie in NHL history age 30 or older to win his first four games.

"It feels great," he said. "The guys battling in front of me, they make it easier for me to play back there."

Semyon Varlamov made 17 saves for Colorado, which has lost two straight.

The Avalanche (4-6-0) continue to struggle on offense. They have yet to get a goal from a defenseman.

"We've been shut out three times in 10 games. ... It's a joke," center Matt Duchene said. "We've got to figure it out. We've got to bear down in practice and try to make a few more plays every now and then. We're knifing the puck in all the time instead of trying to get inside and score a goal. Give them credit, their goalie played outstanding."

Souray gave Fasth the only goal he would need when he beat Varlamov with a slap shot from the point at the 6:20 mark of the first period. Koivu made it 2-0 when he scored on a 5-on-3 power play with 4:21 left in the frame.

The Avalanche pressed to get one back and nearly did when defenseman Matt Hunwick pinched in and had a shot at an open net late in the first. Anaheim defense Bryan Allen got his stick in the way to block the shot.

"I can't fault our effort," Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said. "They're goalie played well when we did have some opportunities, and he made some good saves at key times."

Fasth made a strong save on David Jones in the second to keep it a two-goal game before his team gave him a cushion on Beauchemin's goal halfway through the game.

"We've been playing a really strong team game, and our goaltending has been really good," Souray said.

Colorado had its chances in the third, but Fasth came up big several times. He stopped a shot from Chuck Kobasew and a rebound attempt from Mark Olver on a breakaway, stoned Paul Stastny on a 3-on-1 and made a save on Duchene on another odd-man rush.

"A lot of us are streaky scorers, and it's just a matter of getting one in and hopefully the floodgates open," Jones said. "I know that's the case with me. As long as I'm getting chances, it's going to come. Unfortunately games like today, we need them."

Colorado had 11 shots in the third but never solved the former Swedish Elite star.

He gave his team a boost to start a season-long, six-game road trip.

"It's nothing you think about, you just try to do your best and help the team as much as you can," Fasth said of the shutout. "It's a little bonus, but the important thing is we got the win and started the road trip really well."

The Ducks finished 1-for-4 on the power play, and they killed off the Avalanche's lone man-advantage, which came in the first period.

NOTES: Beauchemin played in his 500th career game. ... Ducks forward Teemu Selanne notched his 750th career assist. ... Anaheim recalled defenseman Jordan Hendry from Norfolk of the AHL to take the roster spot of defenseman Toni Lydman, who is out with the flu. Hendry was in the lineup Wednesday night. ... Jones returned to the lineup after missing two games with a knee injury. ... Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler was scratched for the second straight game with an upper-body injury. ... Anaheim's first-period, power-play goal was the first the Avalanche have allowed at home this season. They had killed off 20 straight before Souray scored. ... The Ducks are off to their best start since 2006-07, the year they won their only Stanley Cup. ... Colorado forward Aaron Palushaj, claimed off waivers Tuesday, was a healthy scratch.