Gibson leads Ducks past Kings 2-0 to even series

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 11, 2014 at 12:26 am •  Published: May 11, 2014
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A few minutes after John Gibson finished his NHL playoff debut by shutting out a vaunted postseason power, the Anaheim Ducks' rookie goalie barely seemed to register a pulse, let alone any visible excitement.

The Ducks were plenty excited for him after another surprising twist in their playoff run left them even with the Kings.

Gibson made 28 saves, captain Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist, and Anaheim evened its second-round postseason series with a 2-0 victory over Los Angeles in Game 4 on Saturday night.

Devante Smith-Pelly also scored in the first period and Corey Perry had two assists for the top-seeded Ducks, who bounced back from two series-opening losses at home with consecutive victories at Staples Center. Anaheim regained momentum with a dynamic performance from a calm, collected 20-year-old goalie who was stopping pucks in Newfoundland three days earlier.

"I think there's always nerves, but you've always got to learn to control them," said Gibson, widely considered the best goaltending prospect in hockey. "After the first five minutes, I settled down."

If Gibson actually had any nerves, nobody noticed them while he became the youngest goalie in NHL history to record a shutout in his playoff debut.

Game 5 is Monday night in Anaheim.

Anaheim started its third goalie in three games with the dramatic entrance of Gibson, who made 39 saves in an AHL playoff game more than 4,400 miles east of Los Angeles on Wednesday night. He coolly backstopped the Ducks even while the final 40 minutes were largely dominated by the Kings.

"He just goes about his business," said Smith-Pelly, Gibson's teammate for much of the AHL season. "I've watched him all year. You would think there would be some nerves, but there were none. It was just like any other game. He's one of the more laid-back guys around."

Gibson, from Pittsburgh, made his NHL debut with three victories late in the regular season, and he got the Game 4 start from coach Bruce Boudreau in place of veteran Jonas Hiller, who started the first two games against Los Angeles and finished Game 3 after Frederik Andersen injured his right leg.

"As soon as we called him up, I thought about it," Boudreau said. "He's been playing, and he gives us the best chance to win."

The visitor has dominated the series between teams separated by 30 miles on the I-5 freeway, and Anaheim ramped up its defense downtown to even the series — even with a revolving door in both creases in Game 4.

Jonathan Quick allowed two goals in the first period for the Kings before getting replaced by rookie Martin Jones, who faced just three shots.