Gibson makes 50 saves as Ducks edge Panthers
ANAHEIM, Calif. — With recently inducted Hockey Hall of Fame members Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne looking on, the Anaheim Ducks needed a superstar-level outing from goalie John Gibson to overcome an uneven team performance on Sunday evening.
The Ducks scored twice on the power play but allowed 24 third-period shots, yet they squeaked out a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers thanks to Gibson.
Gibson posted 50 saves, and Brandon Montour scored the decisive goal in the third period.
Anaheim (9-7-3) recorded its second consecutive victory. The Ducks had lost their three most recent meetings with the Panthers, including an 8-3 drubbing in Florida last month.
Josh Manson and Rickard Rakell added goals for Anaheim.
“(Gibson) obviously was the first star,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. “He saved our butts. We didn’t have a very good outing from the standpoint of management of the puck. We turned the puck over 16 times in the second period alone. We were fortunate enough that our power play won the special teams battle for us, too, and we got a stellar performance from our goaltender. Simple as that.”
Florida center Jared McCann said, “When you keep putting pucks to the net like that, you’re bound to get some luck or something, but you’ve got to give (Gibson) credit. He played well. He made some big saves. We’re not going to change.”
Florida (7-11-2) dropped its second game in a row despite outshooting its opponents in both games. Vincent Trocheck and Keith Yandle each had a goal and an assist for the Panthers, who scored one power-play goal on six chances. Aleksander Barkov assisted on both Florida goals.
“Same story, different night,” said Panthers coach Bob Boughner, whose team lost 4-0 to the Kings in Los Angeles on Saturday. “My message after the game was we threw everything we had at them, keep our heads up. We are not getting any puck luck right now.”
Anaheim got the eventual winner at 1:30 of the third period on Montour’s sixth goal, scored on the power play. Corey Perry snapped a wrister off goalie Roberto Luongo’s mask. The rebound went to Montour at the left of the net, and he slapped it home from a knee.
Rakell said, “We’ve been working on (the power play) a lot in practice. We’re feeling more comfortable and not as stressed throwing pucks away. Everybody is trying to be a threat all the time. We’re battling hard.”
Anaheim opened the scoring on a breakaway by Manson at 18:57 of the first period, his second goal. Manson chipped the puck to center ice after blocking a shot at the Ducks’ blue line. He chased it down and flew into the Florida zone, Jonathan Huberdeau chasing. A skate fake, then a deke, put Luongo down. Manson slid the puck into the open right side.
Rakell made it 2-0 for the Ducks at 5:22 of the second period with his seventh goal. It came with the man advantage. Perry chipped a puck backhand off the boards to Chris Wagner, who advanced into the Florida zone and zipped a pass across the slot. Rakell swept it in under the crossbar from the hash marks.
The Panthers had an apparent goal called off early in the second period on the power play. Huberdeau redirected a wrist shot from the point. A lengthy review determined that Huberdeau’s stick was above the crossbar.
Florida narrowed the score to 2-1 at 15:26 of the second on the power play when Trocheck scored his ninth of the season. The puck deflected to Trocheck at the right faceoff dot off an Anaheim defender’s stick.
Anaheim went up 3-1 on Montour’s eventual winner, but Florida made the game 3-2 when Yandle scored at 17:01 of the third period. It was his third goal. He flung a rising wrist shot from the blue line with Luongo on the bench for the extra man. Anaheim challenged the play for goaltender interference but was denied.
McCann summed up, “This is a tough trip. Three games in four days, with the time change coming from the East Coast, it’s tough, but I felt like we battled. It definitely showed the character of our team.”
Anaheim will soon know the feeling. The Ducks play five games in seven nights.
NOTES: The Ducks scratched RW Logan Shaw, D Jaycob Megna and G Ryan Miller (lower body). ... Anaheim sent F Kalle Kossila to AHL San Diego on Friday. The Ducks recalled LW Mike Liambas, 28, and he appeared in his first Ducks game and second NHL game Sunday. ... The Panthers scratched RW Radim Vrbata and D Alex Petrovic. Vrbata left Florida’s Saturday game against the Los Angeles Kings after taking a puck in the face. ... Florida C Jared McCann returned to the lineup after missing six games due to injury. ... The Ducks honored Hockey Hall of Fame inductees Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya, with players wearing either 8 (Selanne) or 9 (Kariya) sweaters in warm-ups. Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli presented Kariya and Selanne with gold commemorative pucks before the game.