Gibson makes 18 saves in debut, Ducks down Canucks

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 8, 2014 at 2:20 am •  Published: April 8, 2014
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — John Gibson put an end to Vancouver's playoff hopes with a perfect start to his career.

The 20-year-old goalie made 18 saves to earn a shutout in his NHL debut, and the Anaheim Ducks eliminated the listless Canucks from postseason contention with a 3-0 victory Monday night.

"The team played really well in front of me and made my job easier. I only had to make regular saves and if there was rebounds, they cleared it out," said Gibson, the youngest goalie with a shutout in his first NHL start since Daren Puppa in 1985. "Everyone knew it was a big game."

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.

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 period.

"He looked so much more calm than a 20-year-old kid playing his first NHL game," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It was like, ho hum. After my first game when I scored a goal, you couldn't shut me up. I was so happy I was jumping up and down, and he was just, ah, here we go again.

"I think it's a demeanor that a goalie has to have."

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

The Canucks had made five straight playoff appearances — including a loss to Boston in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals three years ago.

"Not a very good feeling," defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. "Not too familiar. It's been a while. We're disappointed for sure. The last few weeks have been very disappointing."

The lower bowl at Rogers Arena was dotted with hundreds of empty seats throughout the game, and many of the fans who did show up started heading to the exits long before the final horn.

The night ended with some in the half-empty building chanting for Canucks president and general manager Mike Gillis to be fired. Bieksa said the players heard the chants with the clock winding down.

"Personally, I don't think it's the right thing to do, but at the end of the day the fans come and they can do whatever they want," he said. "Put it this way: We're all going to take the blame for this. It's not just one or two guys. It's the whole team. We're going to take what we get, move forward, push through this."

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