New-look Ducks, led by John Gibson in goal, beat Devils 3-2
Gibson made 29 saves and Troy Terry scored his first NHL goal and set up another Saturday, sending the new-look Ducks past the New Jersey Devils 3-2 for their second straight win after the losing streak.
Gibson has been the big difference in the streak that has the Ducks in the playoff hunt again. He blanked Minnesota on Thursday night and was outstanding sending New Jersey to its third straight loss.
“He’s huge to this team,” Ducks center Adam Henrique said. “We’ve known that and everybody knows that; it’s no secret. He’s one of, if not the best goalie in the league. There have been a lot of moments this year where we really haven’t helped him out and he absolutely stood on his head and made huge saves just to keep us in games and give us an opportunity.”
While Gibson held the Devils at bay, the Ducks made the most of their 14 shots at Devils rookie goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood.
Daniel Sprong also had a goal and an assist and Derek Grant, playing in his second game with the Ducks after being acquired Wednesday, got the insurance goal early in the third period. Grant scored on a setup by Terry, who was recalled from the minors Wednesday.
The Ducks made four trades in a three-day span leading to their shutout over Minnesota. Gibson was in goal for that one, and his only blemishes against New Jersey came when Marcus Johansson scored in close 6:50 after the opening faceoff and Jesper Bratt struck with 56 seconds to play.
“You don’t want to win one and then go back to losing so I think this was as big a win as the game was in Minnesota,” Gibson said. “Maybe it wasn’t as pretty as the game in Minnesota, but we’ll take the two points. Take the win and move on to the next one.”
Sprong and Terry scored 1:28 apart to give Anaheim the lead for good midway through the first period.
The difference though was Gibson, who came into the game leading the NHL in saves. He stopped 14 in the second period.
It started early with a save on defenseman Damon Severson coming late on a rush and included power-play stops in close against Pavel Zacha, Kyle Palmieri, Brian Boyle and Bratt and two blasts by former Anaheim defenseman Sami Vatanen.
“Maybe we deserved a little better,” Palmieri said. “It’s a tough league to win in. I think their goalie did a good job of making the first stop. They did a good job of clearing the rebounds. We didn’t get a ton of looks or it was us getting pushed out of those areas. We were competing and we were following pucks at the net and testing him as much as we could, but we couldn’t find a way to get it through him.”
Sprong tied it at 9:10, putting in a rebound of a Nick Ritchie deflection.
Terry, who started the season with the Ducks before being sent to San Diego of the AHL, got his first goal on a power play. He took a pass from defenseman Hampus Lindholm in the right circle and ripped a shot past Blackwood, who was screened by Devin Shore, who was acquired from Dallas on Monday.
“I didn’t really see what happened,” Terry said. “I shot it and said that felt pretty good and wasn’t really sure and saw people start to skate toward me, and I was like finally it happened.”
Grant scored his goal at 5:11 of the third period, shortly after Gibson stopped Nico Hischier on a shot from below the left circle.
NOTES: Palmieri was added to the All-Star roster. He replaces Devils teammate Taylor Hall on the Metropolitan Division roster. … F Justin Kloos made his Ducks’ debut. He was acquired from Minnesota Wednesday. … Anaheim placed RW Ondrej Kase on IR before the game and called up F Sam Carrick from minors. He was a healthy scratch. … Devils placed F Miles Wood on IR and called up Fs Nathan Bastian and Kurtis Gabriel from AHL. Bastian made his NHL debut and also got into his first fight with Ducks D Josh Manson. … Ducks F Carter Rowney played in his 100th NHL game.
Ducks: At the New York Islanders on Sunday.
Devils: Off until Jan. 28 when they return from the All-Star break at Pittsburgh.