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Ducks, Kings battle for series lead in Game 5
(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 visiting Kings.
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," offered Sutter.
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 this postseason.
The winner of Game 5 will have a chance to close the series out Wednesday in Los Angeles.
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 10:57:36 ET
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