DENVER -- It sure looks like the Anaheim Ducks struck gold in the free-agent market after missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs a year ago.
Signees Sheldon Souray, Daniel Winnik and Viktor Fasth have played major roles in the Ducks' 7-1-1 start –- the best in franchise history -- and all three contributed Wednesday night in a 3-0 victory against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center.
Souray, a 36-year-old defenseman, already has four goals and seven points after scoring a goal and adding an assist against the Avalanche. Winnik, a former Colorado forward, has five goals and three assists after setting up Francois Beauchemin's second-period goal. Fasth, a 30-year-old rookie from Sweden, turned aside 31 shots for his first NHL shutout and is unbeaten in four starts. He has a 0.98 goals-against average and a save percentage of .962.
The Ducks have won four games in a row, have gone 5-0-1 in their past six games and are 3-0-1 on the road with five games remaining on a grueling six-game trip.
The Avalanche, meanwhile, have lost two consecutive games -– both at home -– and five of the past seven to fall two games below .500 at 4-6-0.
The Ducks needed just eight first-period shots to grab a 2-0 lead on goals by Souray and Saku Koivu.
Souray, who has goals in three consecutive games and has rejuvenated his career, opened the scoring at 6:20 with a blast from just inside the blue line that found its way through a number of sticks and skates before slipping behind goalie Semyon Varlamov.
Souray, Teemu Selanne and Koivu combined for a power-play goal at 15:39 during a two-man advantage after Colorado's Michael Sgarbossa and Ryan O'Byrne took interference and hooking penalties, respectively, 40 seconds apart.
It took the Ducks 34 seconds to convert. Souray fed Selanne at the base of the right circle, Selanne passed in front, and Koivu nudged the puck into the net while stationed near the left post.
The Ducks increased the lead to 3-0 at 10:45 of the second period when Winnik threw a centering pass for Beauchemin for a one-timer from the top of the slot.
Colorado closes out its four-game homestand on Monday against Phoenix. Anaheim travels to Dallas for a game with the Stars on Friday.
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