Rookie goaltender Viktor Fasth will be making his second start in goal tonight for the Anaheim Ducks. Fasth's first start, just shy of a week ago, ended in a shoot-out victory against the Nashville Predators. He allowed in a soft goal in the first but after that, he was solid. He stopped 19 of 21 shots in regulation and made two massive saves in the shoot out.
To prove to us the first time wasn't just a fluke, Fasth will have to shut down Zach Parise and the Minnesota Wild. The Wild are 4-2-1. Their last win could be the biggest of the season, seeing as they took down unbeaten Chicago in a shootout. Hopefully some of the momentum has worn off since Wednesday's victory.
There might be another new face in the lineup tonight. Finnish defenseman Sami Vatanen could be making his NHL debut. It's not clear if Bruce is going to sit one of the defenseman or one of the forwards.
Yesterday during practice, rookie Rickard Rakell was skating between Teemu Selanne and Bobby Ryan. From what Eric Stephen's has reported, it doesn't sound like Rakell is in the lineup tonight...?
No decision at the moment. Skated w/team this morning. @edvardgjerald13 Was Rakell sent back to juniors?— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) February 1, 2013
Without Ricky Racoon we have three centers. This is leading to speculation that Bobby Ryan might be playing at center; signifying the return of the great 'Bobby Ryan at Center Experiment'. Didn't go so well last time but I think he's a better choice than Andrew Cogliano.
On to the line rushes from Stephens:
Matt Beleskey-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry
Kyle Palmieri-Bobby Ryan-Teemu Selanne
Andrew Cogliano-Saku Koivu-Daniel Winnik
Emerson Etem-Nick Bonino-Devante Smith-Pelly
Bryan Allen-Cam Fowler
Sheldon Souray-Francois Beauchemin
Luca Sbisa-Sami Vatanen
The defensive pairing at the end kind of frightens me. Luca is struggling and Sami is playing in his first NHL game. If they get caught on the ice with the Parise, Mikko Koivu and (mock turtleneck wearing bastard) Dany Heatley line, I can't see good things coming, unless Vatanen and Scott Niedermayer did a Freaky Friday-esque body swap.
Finally, prior to the San Jose game, I said Matt Beleskey would play really well with the Twins for a couple games and then suck. Matt helped me prove my point by scoring a goal. I look for goal number two tonight from Bels and a new winger for the Twins by the second period of the Kings game.