When John Gibson made his NHL debut back on Apr. 7, he shutout the Vancouver Canucks for his first career win.
His Stanley Cup Playoff debut was no different.
Gibson turned away all 28 shots he faced as he backstopped the Anaheim Ducks to a 2-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 at the Staples Center.
First period goals from Devante Smith-Pelly and Ryan Getzlaf were plenty of cushion for the 20 year-old netminder as he guided the Ducks to a crucial victory that ties the series at 2-2 heading back south on the I-5 toward Anaheim.
Just like in Game 3, the Ducks struck first on the road. Corey Perry fed a nice backhand pass to Smith-Pelly who caught Kings goalie Jonathan Quick off guard and put it top shelf to give Anaheim a 1-0 lead.
Getzlaf celebrated his 29th birthday by giving the Ducks a two-goal cushion as he put the puck off a sprawling Quick who was caught out of position. Despite the desperate efforts of Quick and Kings’ defensemen, the puck slowly trickled into the back of the net to put the Ducks up 2-0 in the first period. It was the 4th goal of the postseason for the Ducks’ captain.
The Ducks weren’t able to welcome Jones into the game as the Kings controlled play and tested Gibson heavily. Despite the immense pressure, the American netminder stood tall as made 12 saves to keep the Ducks ahead.
While Los Angeles peppered the rookie, Anaheim failed to register a shot on Jones during the second period.
The final 20 minutes saw two major opportunities for both teams to change the course of the game and possibly the series.
Anze Kopitar was caught off-balance along the boards and his stick struck Andrew Cogliano in the face. Kopitar was nailed for a four minute double-minor, but Anaheim couldn’t take advantage of the extra attacker.
Nearly seven minutes later, Cogliano would get whistled for tripping which gave the Kings a glimmer of hope with just under eight minutes to go in the contest. With some big saves from Gibson and gutsy plays by the penalty kill unit, the Ducks thwarted the Kings’ best chance at getting back into the game.
Gibson and the Ducks held serve the rest of the way.
With the Ducks taking both games in Los Angeles, the road teams have won every game in this second round series.
If it were up to Gibson and the Ducks, that trend will change Monday night back in Anaheim.
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