DENVER (AP) — Viktor Fasth stopped 31 shots for his first NHL shutout and Francois Beauchemin scored in his 500th career game, lifting the surging Anaheim Ducks to a 3-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night.
Sheldon Souray and Saku Koivu each added a goal and an assist for the Ducks, who won their fourth straight game.
Fasth stymied the struggling Avalanche with one sprawling save after another to help Anaheim start a six-game road swing on a good note. The 30-year-old Swedish goaltender has been quite a find for the Ducks since he signed as a free agent over the offseason. He’s yet to allow more than two goals in any of his four starts.
A backup to Jonas Hiller, Fasth is making a strong case for more time in the net. His best save against Colorado was when Milan Hejduk skated in late in the final period and lined a shot that Fasth gobbled up with his chest.
That was the type of night it was for Fasth, who was the Swedish Elite League’s goaltender of the year the last two seasons.
Kyle Palmieri nearly added a goal early in the third period on a 2-on-1 breakaway, but Semyon Varlamov slid over, stuck out of his glove and trapped the puck against the post. The referees took a quick look on replay before upholding the ruling of no goal.
Beauchemin all but wrapped up this game with a goal in the second period that gave the Ducks a commanding 3-0 lead, especially the way Fasth was guarding the goal. The play was set up by Koivu, who took a bone-jarring hit along the boards to send the puck into the offensive zone, where Daniel Winnik corralled the puck and sent it over to Beauchemin for his second goal of the season.
The Avalanche had David Jones back in the lineup after he missed the previous two games with a knee injury. But it didn’t ignite the offense as Colorado lost for a second straight time at home.
Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau had a chance to catch up with Varlamov, his former goalie, in a Pepsi Center hallway at morning skate. The two were together while with Washington.
Asked the biggest difference between Varlamov then and now, Boudreau said, “He’s way more consistent. From when I watch, there are no soft goals.”
And then Varlamov proceeded to surrender two soft ones in the first period. He let a liner from Souray near the blue line slip between his pads.
Later, Varlamov failed to bat away a pass through the goal crease, allowing Koivu to tap it in with the Ducks on a 5-on-3 advantage. It was the first goal the Avs have allowed in 21 power-play chances at Pepsi Center this season.
The injury-riddled Avalanche claimed Aaron Palushaj off waivers from Montreal. He was playing with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League before catching a flight and arriving into Denver late Tuesday night. He went through a physical Wednesday and skated with the team in the morning workout, but didn’t play against the Ducks.
That way, he has more of a chance to get used to the higher elevation and his teammates, since the Avs don’t play again until Monday.
As for his role with the team, Palushaj said, “I’m sure we’ll go over that soon.”
NOTES: Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog (head and leg) missed a sixth straight game. … Boudreau said the decision to send RW Devante Smith-Pelly to Norfolk of the American Hockey League on Tuesday was simply to give him more ice time. “We think he has a tremendous future with us,” Boudreau said. “When he comes back up, we want him to be confident.” … D Toni Lydman (flu) was a scratch. The team recalled D Jordan Hendry from Norfolk. … There was a drop-the-gloves fight between Patrick Bordeleau and Brad Staubitz in the first period that ended with both players falling to the ice.
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