Lightning clip Ducks for 4th in row
ANAHEIM, Calif. — John Gibson did everything humanly possible as the Tampa Bay Lightning peppered him with shots from all angles on Sunday night in Anaheim. He held strong for the Ducks, allowing two goals and making 35 saves, but his teammates mustered only one goal in his aid.
J.T. Brown scored the decisive goal and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 on Sunday night at Honda Center.
Had Gibson not been spectacular, the game might have run to five goals for Tampa Bay, as had happened in the team’s prior two contests. As it was, the Lightning defeated the three California teams by a combined 12-4 score over the past week.
“I look back at this now. We got these three wins, but I was really impressed that we went through these three games and only gave up four goals,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “If you want to win in this league, you’ve got to keep them out of your net, and that’s why we had success.”
The Lightning (14-2-2) tallied once on the power play to complete their California sweep with their fourth win in a row while extending their road win streak to six games. Tampa Bay also avenged a 4-3 loss to the Ducks at home on Oct. 28.
The Ducks (7-7-3) have won only one of their last six games, with two overtime losses.
Tampa Bay went ahead 2-1 at 7:18 of the third on Brown’s first goal of the season. Ryan Callahan poked a puck free of the Anaheim defense behind the Ducks net. Chris Kunitz passed it to Brown in the left slot. He fired a wrist shot into the top corner past Gibson’s catching glove.
“That line did an unreal job forechecking. Can’t underestimate what Kunitz and Callahan did, and Brown put that one in. We kind of held on after that,” Cooper said.
Neither team scored in the first period. The Lightning blitzed the Ducks with 17 shots and forced multiple turnovers. Gibson faced two breakaways.
“Our goalie held us in the first period. He made some big saves for us,” Ducks right winger Corey Perry said. “That wasn’t the way to play a game against a team like that, but we found a way to claw back into the hockey game. A bounce here and there it could go either way.”
Tampa Bay opened a 1-0 lead on the power play at 9:12 of the second period when Vladislav Namestnikov scored his ninth of the season.
Steven Stamkos passed from the point to Nikita Kucherov at the right faceoff dot and Kucherov whipped a one-timer. Gibson came across in full splits to make a pad save. Anaheim defenseman Sami Vatanen failed to control on the clearing attempt, and Namestnikov swept the puck behind Gibson.
Most of the play in the second period centered around Gibson, who made 12 saves.
The Ducks tied the game 1-1 at 3:48 of the third period when Jakob Silfverberg got his fifth of the season. Andrew Cogliano threw the puck to the net off a failed Tampa Bay clearing pass. It glanced off Chris Wagner’s skate and his stick before bouncing to Silfverberg, who whipped it into the open left side of the net. Silfverberg now has four goals in his last five games.
Anaheim appeared to tie the game on the power play at 10:48 of the third.
Defenseman Brandon Montour flung a one-time shot that went under Vasilevskiy’s leg pad. A lengthy video review determined that the puck did not cross the goal line before Vasilevskiy scooped it with his catching glove.
“We didn’t have a very good start,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. “They managed the puck and had control of the puck much more than we did early in the hockey game. We were standing around, watching, and we were playing in awe of them. If you allow that to a skilled group like the Tampa Bay Lightning, they’re going to make us look ordinary, and they did.”
The Lightning have scored on the power play in four straight games.
“We are trying to take it on a game-by-game basis and try to get better every single day,” said former Duck Kunitz. “If you can tilt the ice in your favor for 31 or 33 minutes, you’re usually going to be doing a good job. We still have to keep getting better, keep growing as a team.”
Tampa Bay heads home for three games. The Ducks host Boston on Wednesday.
NOTES: The Ducks scratched D Korbinian Holzer, D Jaycob Megna, and G Ryan Miller. Miller left Thursday’s game versus Vancouver with a lower-body injury. ... Ducks G Reto Berra came off the bench in relief. He backed up John Gibson on Sunday . ... The Lightning scratched C Cedric Paquette, D Slater Koekkoek, and C Gabriel Dumont. ... Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle (803 games coached, 615 for Anaheim) passed Hall of Famer Art Ross for 38th place on the all-time games coached list. ... Former Anaheim players Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya enter the Hall of Fame Monday in Toronto.