Gibson guides Ducks past Canadiens
ANAHEIM, Calif. — On a night in which fans received his bobbleheaded likeness, goalie John Gibson played the pivotal role as the Anaheim Ducks defeated the NHL’s leading team.
Gibson tied a career high with 39 saves while leading the Ducks to a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night at the Honda Center.
“We knew it was a big game,” Gibson said. “They’re the best team in the league, and everyone wants to see how they stack up against the best. It was a good test.”
Rickard Rakell and Cam Fowler scored, while Ryan Kesler contributed two assists for the Ducks (11-8-4), who moved into a tie for second place in the Pacific Division with the Edmonton Oilers. Both teams are one point behind the first-place San Jose Sharks.
“‘Gibby’ saved us a lot of times,” Rakell said about Gibson. “If he didn’t play this good, it might not have been the same result.”
Andrew Shaw scored for the Canadiens (16-5-2), who received 36 saves from goalie Carey Price.
“We’ve gotten away from our game,” Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry said. “We were using our speed in the first (period), then we got away from that. If we use our speed, we’re a tough team to handle.”
Montreal dominated play early by pinning the Ducks in their own end while outshooting them 8-0 in the first five minutes and 15-5 through 16 minutes.
“It was like they had the puck and wouldn’t give it to us,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. “We weren’t skating. We were coasting. There are clips of us coasting on the forecheck, coasting on our backside coverage.”
Nevertheless, Rakell’s team-leading ninth goal put Anaheim ahead.
Rakell tried to stuff the puck inside the left post from behind the net on a power play, but Price blocked the shot. Price then stopped Kesler’s attempt to convert the rebound. Rakell finally tucked the deflection inside the left post and behind Price’s right skate at 16:50 of the first period.
The Canadiens’ best chance to tie the score came nine minutes into the second period, when Alexander Radulov went on a breakaway. Gibson used his left leg pad to block Radulov’s wrist shot.
Nearly three minutes later, Fowler extended Anaheim’s lead to 2-0 when he fired a quick slap shot from the left circle that deflected off the stick of Montreal’s Alex Galchenyuk and inside the left post at 11:56. With his seventh goal of the season, Fowler tied Chris Kunitz for 10th place on the Ducks’ career scoring list with 192 points.
“We addressed the team about our second period,” Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. “We have to make sure we maintain that push when we start ticking.”
Shaw scored his fifth goal with two minutes left in the game when he swept the puck inside the right post after the Canadiens pulled Price to create a six-on-five advantage.
However, with 28 seconds remaining, Shaw received a hooking penalty to nullify that edge. Shaw then broke his stick over his left knee and yelled at the officials from the penalty box to earn a 10-minute misconduct penalty.
NOTES: Montreal has not won a road game in California since March 5, 2014, when the Canadiens beat the Ducks in a shootout, 4-3. ... Former Canadiens and Ducks LW Travis Moen retired Tuesday. Moen, 34, spent six seasons in Montreal and four in Anaheim, where he scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal for the Ducks in 2007. ... Montreal scratched D Zach Redmond and LW Chris Terry. ... Anaheim scratched RW Jared Boll and D Korbinian Holzer. ... Ducks C Antoine Vermette won 66.5 percent of his faceoffs to lead the NHL entering the game. Vermette won 14 of 22 on Tuesday night (63.6 percent).