NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, May 12th
(All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Kings (2-2) at Anaheim Ducks (2-2), 10 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Bruce Boudreau has earned a reputation as a gambler and
the Anaheim head coach's latest roll of the dice paid off in a big way.
Boudreau made a surprising decision to start highly-touted goaltending
prospect John Gibson in Game 4 at Los Angeles on Saturday and the 20-year-old
responded by posting a 28-save shutout to help the Ducks even this Western
Conference semifinals series at 2-2.
Gibson and the Ducks will aim for a repeat performance when they try to take
their first lead of this best-of-seven set in Monday's Game 5 against the
The Ducks recalled Gibson after Frederik Andersen, another rookie goaltender,
was hurt late in Game 3 and had to be replaced by veteran backstop Jonas
Hiller. With Andersen sidelined on Saturday, Hiller was expected to get the
Game 4 start due to his playoff experience, but Boudreau instead went with
Gibson, who earned rave reviews in his NHL postseason debut.
"As soon as we called him up, I thought about starting him," said Boudreau. "I
thought he would give us the best chance to win."
Gibson had gone 3-0-0 with a 1.33 goals-against average and one whitewash in
three appearances at the tail end of the regular season for the Pacific
Division champions. On Saturday, he became the first rookie to post a shutout
in a playoff debut since Andrew Raycroft of the Boston Bruins against the
Montreal Canadiens (3-0) on April 7, 2004.
"When I found out I was going to play, I was excited," Gibson said. "I knew
the team had to get a win tonight."
The victory knotted the series at two games apiece and continue the trend of
road teams winning in this series. Los Angeles claimed Games 1 and 2 in
Anaheim before the Ducks clawed their way back into the series with two
straight victories at the Staples Center.
Gibson will be in net again on Monday with Hiller serving as the backup.
Devante Smith-Pelly and Ryan Getzlaf provided early offense for the Ducks on
Saturday, as both players tallied late in the opening period. Anaheim improved
to 23-2 all-time in the postseason when Getzlaf scores a goal.
Anaheim had 11 shots in the first period, but only registered three shots on
net over the final 40 minutes. The Ducks went without a shot in the middle
stanza, marking the first time an NHL club was held without a shot in a
playoff period since it happened to Dallas against Edmonton on May 9, 1998 in
Game 2 of the WCSF.
While Gibson was able to record a shutout, Kings star goaltender Jonathan
Quick was pulled after the first period. Quick stopped 9-of-11 shots and
Martin Jones turned aside the three shots he faced over the final two periods.
Kings head coach Darryl Sutter said the decision to pull his No. 1 goaltender
was a tactical one and Quick should be in net when Game 5 gets underway.
"It wasn't a tough thought process. They scored two goals. I don't think our
goaltending is an issue. We have to finish off our shots to be successful,"
The Kings hadn't been blanked in a home playoff contest since May 20, 2012, a
2-0 defeat to the Phoenix Coyotes in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals.
L.A. forward Anze Kopitar had his point streak halted at 10 games, as he
failed to pick up a point for the first time in this postseason. He was the
first King to have points in 10 straight games in one postseason since Wayne
Gretzky posted a franchise-record 12-game point streak in 1993.
Kopitar has four goals and 11 assists to lead all players with 15 points in
The winner of Game 5 will have a chance to close the series out Wednesday in
The Kings, the 2012 Stanley Cup champions, are attempting to make the
conference final round for a third straight spring. Anaheim is trying to
advance to the third round for the first time since claiming the franchise's
lone Cup title in 2007.
This best-of-seven set, which had been dubbed the "Freeway Series," marks the
first-ever playoff matchup between these Southern California rivals.
05/12 10:45:57 ET