The Ducks desperately need a rescue against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night. They didn’t play well for 65 minutes against their fourth straight elite, but as goalkeeper John Gibson was razor-sharp from start to finish, they won another point on the leaderboard.
Scanned a point. Steal a point. Absence with a point.
The Ducks bounced back from conceding two goals to force overtime and then a penalty shootout before losing, 4-3. Gibson kept them impressive distance the whole time, stopping 41 shots in a dazzling display, which shows why he was selected for his third All-Star Game.
At one point, after Gibson snapped a flick of the ball from mid-air to deny the Maple Leafs a chance to score, Toronto’s Auston Matthews skated past and said a few words to him. It’s not hard to imagine Matthews cursing him for his outstanding play, a compliment if any.
“We all know what a special player he is,” Duck guard Kevin Shatenkirk said of Gibson via Zoom from Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena. “Perhaps it’s a bit underrated because we play in Southern California, but he’s establishing himself as the best goalkeeper in the league, if not the best at the times he’s played. so. He stole a lot of points for us, that’s for sure. ”
Duck will be lost without him on Wednesday.
They have been burned in the Toronto powerhouse three times, with Mitch Marner, William Nylander and John Tavares scoring. Tavares’ goal came while the Maple Leafs had a two-man advantage 3-1 at 16:08 of the second half. The ducks were not made, though appeared.
Jakob Silfverberg cut the Ducks’ deficit to 3-2 at 17:21 of the second half, getting out of the box and into a three-on-two match. He netted Toronto goalkeeper Jack Campbell for his third goal of the season. Sam Steel scored with the Ducks’ first goal in just 2:46 in the game.
In the third round, the Ducks regrouped and started playing as they had in wins over the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning and in a narrow loss to the Colorado Avalanche. The Maple Leafs dominated the gameplay for most of the first two stages, but the Ducks started to push back.
Vinni Lettieri sealed the score with a shot from Shatenkirk’s box at 13:23 in the third half. Neither team was able to break the 3-3 deadlock in regulation play or in the five minutes of the half, when Gibson denied Nylander in a couple of empty attempts in extra time.
Jason Spezza and Matthews scored in the penalty shootout around Trevor Zegras’ goal for the Ducks, his fifth of seven this season. Gibson denied Nylander with a free-kick save after Campbell stopped Troy Terry. Rickard Rakell could not extend the penalty shootout and the Maple Leafs had the final victory.
That could be a huge win for Toronto without Gibson.
The Ducks took a 44-20 lead late in the game. Marner and Nylander were present almost constantly with their club hit at close range, and Gibson was left to fend for himself. The Ducks couldn’t handle the strength of the Maple Leafs, it was hard to relieve the pressure.
Silfverberg said of Gibson: “It’s getting close to the point where I wouldn’t say you expect that from him, but he obviously delivers it every night. “He had a couple of saves (Wednesday) where you were like, ‘Oh my God, what really happened?’ He is a top player. He is the reason we are successful.
“Obviously he’s an important part of our team.”
https://www.sbsun.com/2022/01/26/ducks-rally-for-a-point-but-lose-to-maple-leafs-in-a-shootout/ John Gibson’s stellar play helps the Ducks steal a point in penalty shootout loss to the Leafs – San Bernardino Sun