ANAHEIM – The Ducks have leaned heavily on goalie John Gibson frequently this season, and he came up big late in a 2-1 victory over the Avalanche this afternoon at Honda Center.
With Anaheim clinging to a slim one-goal lead down the stretch, Gibson made a crucial save on Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog near the left post with just a couple seconds remaining to seal the win and snap a five-game losing streak. It was the second game in a row for Gibson, who had missed significant time with various injuries last month.
After the Ducks went in front 2-0 on by Jakob Silfverberg and Cam Fowler, Colorado got its first score four minutes into the third period to cut the Anaheim lead in half. But the Ducks were able to hold on to the lead the rest of the way, notably when the Avs sent goalie Philipp Grubauer to the bench for an extra attacker.
The Ducks got Ryan Getzlaf back in the lineup after the captain had missed five games with an upper-body injury. He was part of the ceremonial puck drop for CHOC Night at Honda Center, which featured a patient named Carson Shurtz, who overcame inflammatory arthritis as well as pain amplification syndrome through treatment at CHOC Children’s, earning a 4.9 GPA and enrolling at USC.
Of the victory, Getzlaf said, “It was good. I thought we grinded it out tonight. We played a lot of the right [style of] hockey. Throughout the night, we had some other opportunities we could’ve scored on. When push came to shove, we made the right plays and we did the right things.”
After failing to light the lamp two night ago, the Ducks broke the ice just 3:17 into this one, when Silfverberg sent the water bottle flying with a sizzling wrister from the right wing, his 100th as a Duck. Anaheim made it official yesterday morning, signing Silfverberg to a five-year contract extension.
Silfverberg’s short-side snipe
00:54 • 5:00 AM
Meanwhile, the Ducks held Colorado without a shot in the first seven minutes of the game.
Anaheim made it 2-0 halfway through the second courtesy of Fowler’s fourth goal of the season, a point shot that deflected off Colorado winger Matt Calvert’s stick blade and skipped past Grubauer. It was the 57th goal of Fowler’s Ducks career, placing him second all-time among franchise defensemen. (His goal held as the game winner, which placed him in a tie with Scott Niedermayer (13) for the all-time franchise lead among defensemen in GWG.)
Fowler’s power-play goal
00:51 • 5:00 AM
“You can talk a lot about the positive things you’re doing as a team, and continue to stay in that mindset,” Fowler said, “But it’s difficult when you don’t get the end result you want. That’s kind of the way things have been going the last three or four games. It was another good effort by our guys tonight, especially defensively. We come out with the win, which makes it that much better.”
Things got heated later in the period after Ian Cole’s ugly hit on Anaheim’s Devin Shore earned him a five-minute major for kneeing. The Ducks weren’t able to score with the lengthy man advantage, during which Corey Perry was given a double-minor for roughing Patrik Nemeth, who had slashed Perry’s hand. Nemeth also got two minutes for roughing in the scrap.
Colorado got back in the game in the first five minutes of the third, seconds after a Josh Manson hooking penalty, on a one-timer by Derick Brassard. But with the help of Gibson, the Ducks kept the puck out of the net the rest of the way.
Though the Ducks play six of their next seven games at home, they are in Arizona to face the Coyotes on Tuesday night.
“Everyone knows the situation we’re in, where we’re at in the standings,” Fowler said. “The important thing is we come to work every day and play for one another. There was a lot that went on in the beginning part of the season, and we lost our identity for a little bit. We were a little bit lost in general as a team. We’re very focused on simplifying things now. We have a simple message, and it’s work hard for one another and trust one another. When you do that, you tend to have good results.”