John Gibson made his Stanley Cup playoff debut a memorable one.
The Ducks’ 20-year-old rookie goaltender stopped 28 shots in a 2-0 victory over the Kings at Staples Center tonight. The victory evened the Western Conference semifinals series at 2-2. The two teams play Game 5 at Honda Center on Monday.
Gibson was recalled from the minor leagues on Friday after Frederik Anderson sustained an apparent leg injury in Game 3 on Thursday. Gibson was inserted into the starting lineup Saturday and stymied the Kings throughout.
Gibson made a handful of eye-opening saves. He made a bang-bang stop on Marian Gaborik, thwarting a two-on-one break in the first period. He turned away a Tanner Pearson shot with his left pad in the second period. With five minutes left in the game, Tyler Toffoli took a pass at the crease only to have Gibson deflect away his one-timer.
The Ducks had only three shots on goal combined in the second and third periods, but got enough offense in the first period.
A rush up ice ended in a goal by Smith-Pelly for a 1-0 lead with 3 minutes 58 seconds left in the first period.
Getzlaf brought the puck up ice and fired it behind the net. Corey Perry slipped a pass into the crease. Smith Pelly chipped a shot over goaltender Jonathan Quick’s left shoulder. It was his third goal of the playoffs.
Ducks then took advanatge of power play. With Tanner Pearson off for interference, the Ducks buzzed the net. Getzlaf whiffed on one shot at the crease, then backed in a second try from behind the net, with the puck going off Quick. Corey Perry and Sami Vatanen had the assists.
The Kings yanked Quick after the first period. He watched the remainder of the game from the bench.
Somewhere, Ken Dryden might be watching,
Gibson, all of 20, has a long way to go to get compared to the Montreal’s Hall of Fame goaltender. But the early numbers aren’t far off.
Dryden joined the Canadiens late in the 1970-71 season and went 6-0 to close the regular season.
Gibson won all three of his regular-season starts with the Ducks this season.
Dryden carried the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup championship, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player in the playoffs.
Gibson was making his first playoff start Saturday, and has stymied the Kings so far. He made a bang-bang save on Marian Gaborik, thwarting a two-on-one break. He reacted to turn away a Tanner Pearson shot with his left pad in the second period.
His play offset the fact that the Ducks did not have a shot in the second period. That made life easier for Kings goaltender Martin Jones, who replaced starter Jonathan Quick at the start of the second period.
Quick did not appear to be injured. He spent the period sitting on the Kings’ bench.