Gibson makes 39 saves, Ducks hold off Canadiens 2-1
November 29, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson (36) defends the goal as Montreal Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty (67) moves in for a shot during the third period at Honda Center. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — For much of the first period, the Anaheim Ducks looked overmatched against the top team in the NHL.
The Montreal Canadiens were controlling the puck and outshooting Anaheim 15-3 at one point. What they were not getting, however, were any goals.
Buoyed by the play of John Gibson in net, the Ducks recovered behind goals from Rickard Rakell and defenseman Cam Fowler to beat the Canadiens 2-1 on Tuesday night.
“We have to eliminate these starts that are pretty much pedestrian,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. “It was kind of like they had the puck and wouldn't give it to us.
“But our goalie kept us in there and we got a 1-0 lead and then we were much better the rest of the game.”
The 23-year-old Gibson, in his first full NHL season, equaled a career high with 39 saves and outplayed counterpart Carey Price, the 2015 league MVP.
Price made several excellent stops, but Gibson turned away Montreal's first 38 shots. Andrew Shaw scored with 2 minutes left and Price finished with 36 saves for the Canadiens (16-5-2).
“It was a good test,” Gibson said. “They're the best team in the league and everyone wants to see how they stack up against the best. We played well.”
Anaheim (11-8-4) had lost three consecutive games before winning Friday at San Jose, the defending Western Conference champion.
Price was among the league leaders in goals allowed per game (1.66) and led with 13 wins.
“Price came up big for us and kept us in the game,” Montreal defenseman Jeff Petry said. “We were using our speed at first and then got away from that. It's something we have to learn from, because if we use our speed we're a tough team to handle.”
With Gibson stopping 17 shots, the Ducks were able to overcome their slow start when they scored on a power play with just more than 3 minutes to play in the opening period.
Rakell tried a wraparound from behind the net, but Price deflected the puck to Anaheim's Ryan Kesler. He attempted to slap it in, but it caromed off Price and right back to Rakell, who snapped it in.
It was the ninth goal in 14 games for Rakell, a late signee.
The Ducks began to play more aggressively after taking the lead. They went up 2-0 in the second period when Fowler beat Price to the short side.
“It was a weird angle,” Fowler said. “My body was facing the boards, so it's not an ideal angle to get everything you want on the shot. But I'm not complaining.”
The Ducks held their 2-0 lead until the final minutes, when the Canadiens pulled Price for an extra skater and Shaw ruined the shutout bid.
“Both goalies played really well,” Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. “I liked the way we got out of the gate. I thought we were ready to play. They put pressure on us and we didn't react the right way.”
After the Canadiens pulled within a goal, Shaw was sent off for hooking with 28 seconds left and flipped out in the penalty box. He directed a profane tirade toward at least one official, slammed his stick on the glass and snapped it over his knee. Shaw was given a 10-minute misconduct and ejected.
NOTES: The Ducks went 8-4-2 in November and are 9-0 this season when leading after two periods. … The Canadiens are 1-7-2 in their last 10 games against the Ducks and 11-14-4 in the all-time series. … Rakell's nine goals in November tie him for third in the NHL. . Gibson matched his career high with 39 saves.
Canadiens: Continue a three-game California swing Friday in San Jose.
Ducks: Begin a three-game road trip Thursday in Vancouver.