ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Thanks to John Gibson, the Anaheim Ducks were able to get their first regulation victory of the season.
Gibson stopped 41 shots, including 17 in the third period, and the Ducks held on to beat the New York Rangers 3-2 Wednesday night.
“(Gibson) was incredible. Just an outstanding performance by him,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said. “I think you saw our lack of playing with the lead, it was almost like we were waiting for something bad to happen. And we are very thankful that he was going to have none of that.”
Dmitry Kulikov had a goal and an assist, while Mason McTavish and Troy Terry also scored for the Ducks, who had dropped six of their last seven coming into the game.
At 20 games, Anaheim just missed tying the Arizona Coyotes for most games to start the season without picking up a regulation victory.
“It is kind of a relief to close out a game like that. It was a big night for us in a lot of different aspects,” said Terry, who has three goals in the last six games. “I think we’ve had a bad habit this year of when we’re tied or winning, we kind of back off, just try to not get scored on and we stop bringing the game to them. I thought we did a better job of that tonight,”
The Rangers were playing the second of a back-to-back Southern California set after beating Los Angeles on Tuesday night. They made a move before Wednesday’s game by trading enforcer Ryan Reaves to Minnesota.
Barclay Goodrow and Braden Schneider scored for New York, and Jaroslav Halak stopped 19 shots.
Artemi Panarin picked up his 400th career assist on Schneider’s second-period goal to get the Rangers within a goal.
Penarin had a chance to tie it with 3:46 remaining, but his shot hit the post and Kaapo Kakko missed tipping it in.
“We hit five goal posts and crossbars. We had lots of opportunities and Gibson stood on his head,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. “I’m disappointed we didn’t get any points out of it. We played hard and well. If you play like that, you are going to win a lot of these games.”
Gibson made his share of great saves to keep the Ducks in the game, including stopping Kakko on the breakaway midway through the second period.
Goodrow blocked John Klingberg’s shot in the Ducks’ offensive zone, rushed up ice and then put a wrist shot through Gibson’s pads to open the scoring at 8:51. It was Goodrow’s 50th career goal and fifth of the season.
The Ducks answered 31 seconds later when McTavish knocked in a rebound after Halak made a pad save on a shot from the point by Kulikov. It was McTavish’s third of the season with all of them coming in the last nine games.
Kulikov put Anaheim up 2-1 just 39 seconds into the second with a wrist shot from the side boards that trickled between Halak’s pads and into the net.
Terry made it a two-goal advantage five minutes later with a snap shot from just inside the left faceoff circle that went top shelf inside the far post.
Since making his NHL debut in 2015-16, Panarin has the third-most assists in the league. Connor McDavid leads the way with 477 followed by Patrick Kane’s 410.
Panarin — who has 192 goals and 592 points in 529 games — is also the only active undrafted player in the league to reach 400 assists.
Rangers: Return home to face the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.
Ducks: Continue their homestand against the Ottawa Senators on Friday.
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Joe Reedy, The Associated Press