The Anaheim Ducks may be the biggest surprise in the league through the first quarter of the season. They'll look to cement that fact on Friday when they visit the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
Anaheim missed the playoffs a year ago, finishing 15 points back of the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference. This year, though, it's been a different story, as the Ducks sit atop the Pacific Division and are second in the conference thanks to nine wins through their first 12 games (9-2-1).
However, playing in Detroit has always been a problem for the Ducks, who have lost eight in a row and are just 2-25 with a tie in their last 28 at Joe Louis Arena.
Anaheim continued to impress on Tuesday, as Corey Perry provided the game- winner in the second round of the shootout, helping the Ducks defeated the Chicago Blackhawks, 3-2.
After both teams scored to start the shootout, Anaheim goaltender Viktor Fasth stuffed Patrick Kane's backhand attempt.
Perry then stepped up and rang a wrister off the left post and in to put Anaheim in front. Brandon Saad had a chance to extend the shootout, but Fasth was able to get his right pad on Saad's forehand chance to send Anaheim to its second consecutive victory.
Fasth stopped 28-of-30 shots to improve to 6-0-0 over his first six starts, becoming the first goalie to win his first six starts since Dan Ellis (with Dallas/Nashville) accomplished the feat from Feb. 18, 2004-Nov. 29, 2007.
Should he win on Friday, he'd become the first goaltender to win his first seven career starts since Ray Emery did it with Ottawa from March. 21, 2003- Nov. 19, 2005.
"You always try to work hard to get to play," Fasth said. "I got to work hard every day to get my chances and to play when the coach wants me to play and try to help out the team as much as I can."
Andrew Cogliano scored the game-tying goal late in regulation, while Ryan Getzlaf also lit the lamp for the Ducks, who have won six of their last seven.
Detroit, meanwhile, enters Friday's showdown on the heels of dropping a 4-3 decision in a shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues.
Pavel Datsyuk, Drew Miller and Tomas Tatar all scored for the Red Wings, who had a three-game winning streak stopped. Jimmy Howard made 21 saves.
"We didn't have very clean play out there tonight and they made us pay for our errors," said Detroit head coach Mike Babcock. "We did some good things good and got a point, but it's disappointing that we didn't get two."
Howard's 7-2-1 with a 2.00 GAA and three shutouts in 10 career meetings, winning all five home matchups while blanking them twice.
Anaheim hasn't won in Detroit since Feb. 10, 2008.