Gibson makes 18 saves in debut; Ducks down Canucks

Ducks goaltender John Gibson (36) is congratulated by defenseman Ben Lovejoy

Anne-Marie Sorvin/Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Spor


John Gibson made 18 saves to record a shutout in his NHL debut and the Anaheim Ducks eliminated the Vancouver Canucks from playoff contention with a 3-0 victory Monday night.

Daniel Winnik, Kyle Palmieri and Matt Beleskey scored for Anaheim, which is three points ahead of San Jose for first place in the Pacific Division.

The 20-year-old Gibson, who led the United States to a gold medal at the 2013 world junior hockey championship, wasn’t tested much but made a huge save on Niklas Jensen to preserve the shutout with about eight minutes gone in the third.

Eddie Lack stopped 20 shots in his 19th straight start for Vancouver since the Olympic break.

Lack stopped Andrew Cogliano on a breakaway 15 seconds into the first period after he stripped defenseman Jason Garrison of the puck, but the Canucks goaltender couldn’t bail his team a second time after another gaffe a few minutes later.

With Vancouver on the power play, Winnik jumped on a mistake by Canucks captain Henrik Sedin and moved in alone to rip his sixth of the season at 6:26 over Lack’s blocker.

Vancouver had a couple of chances later in the man advantage, including a scramble in front of Gibson that saw the puck dribble off the post and stay out. Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler then took another shot off the iron that fooled the 20-year-old Gibson, who is seen by many as Anaheim’s goalie of the future.

Ryan Kesler then raced in on a short-handed breakaway late in the period, but Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm made a great play to strip the Canucks forward of the puck.

Anaheim grabbed a 2-0 lead at 17:03 of the second period when Palmieri deflected a point shot home past Lack for his 14th goal of the season.

Vancouver had just nine shots to Anaheim’s 18 through two periods and there was a smattering of boos as the players left the ice for the intermission, with fans resigned to the fact that there will be no playoff hockey at Rogers Arena this spring for the first time in six years.

Anaheim made it 3-0 against the Canucks 1:20 into the third when Beleskey finished off a pretty passing play with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf for his seventh of the season.

Moments earlier, the Ducks moved in on a 2-on-0 break, but Lack managed to thwart Cogliano’s effort.

NOTES: The game marked Teemu Selanne’s final visit to Vancouver as a player. Set to retire after the postseason, the 43-year-old has said repeatedly that the city is his favorite stop in the NHL. The Canucks honored Selanne with a brief scoreboard tribute in the first period. … The Ducks are 10-1-2 in the second of back-to-back games this season, including two wins against the Canucks. … Anaheim now has 110 points, tying a franchise record set in 2006-07 when the club won its only Stanley Cup.