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Gibson makes 37 saves, Ducks defeat Canadiens

Curtis Zupke  - Correspondent | Thursday, 03.05.2015 / 2:28 AM

ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks do not have a full contingent of healthy skaters but their goaltenders are as well as they've been all season.

That was evident Wednesday when John Gibson made 37 saves to lead Anaheim to a 3-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens at Honda Center.

Francois Beauchemin, Rickard Rakell and Cam Fowler scored for the Ducks (42-17-7), who are 7-1-0 in their past eight games and in sole possession of first place in the Western Conference (91 points).

Gibson was 1:41 away from a shutout against the Eastern Conference's top team. His performance came a day after No. 1 goalie Frederik Andersen made 29 saves in a 4-1 win against the Arizona Coyotes.

"That's huge --- every time you have a goalie playing every night that gives you a chance to win," Beauchemin said. "If it wasn't for [Gibson] tonight, I don't think we would have won that game. He kept us in it. He made some big saves, some breakaway saves. We're fortunate to have two big goaltenders that can do that."

Anaheim is awaiting the return of injured defensemen Sami Vatanen, James Wisniewski and Korbinian Holzer, among others, but Gibson, who sustained a groin injury early in the season that kept him out six weeks and spent time with Norfolk of the American Hockey League, has been especially sharp lately. He has won each of his past three starts, making 96 saves on 100 shots (.960 save percentage).

Gibson made 27 saves through two periods, including 15 in the first, the best of which came against Tomas Plekanec on a 2-on-1. His save on Max Pacioretty's shorthanded breakaway and another stop on Andrei Markov were highlights of the second period.

"I'm just trying to build off the team," Gibson said. "Obviously we have a nice streak, and I'm just trying to getting better each and every night.

"I had a tough stretch in the beginning, but I think, throughout your career, it happens to everybody, so hopefully mine's out of the way now and [I need to] just keep staying healthy and keep playing hockey."

The Canadiens (41-18-5) have been outscored 7-1 against the Ducks and San Jose Sharks to begin their four-game road trip. Goalie Carey Price made 30 saves; he lost back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 5 and 6.

Alex Galchenyuk scored with 1:41 left in the third period to ruin Gibson's shutout bid and end Montreal's goal drought at 120:51.

"I don't think we're losing momentum," Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban said. "[Overall], you can just focus on the process, you can't focus on anything else. You try to focus on the process, and hopefully it's in your favor. In this case, we've done enough to win hockey games, win this hockey game. It just didn't bounce our way today."

Rakell gave Anaheim a 2-0 lead in the second when he put in a rebound from the slot at 10:16. Former Canadiens forward Jiri Sekac, in his first game against Montreal, started the play with a big hit on Subban in the corner to set up the initial point shot from Hampus Lindholm.

Sekac, who had one point in his final 18 games with Montreal, has three assists in his first five games with Anaheim.

"I'm not going to lie, it's a pretty good feeling, and I'm very happy we beat the Habs," Sekac said. "Nothing gets better than beating the team you used to play for."

Beauchemin scored his eighth goal, tying a career-high, on a pretty finish of a rush at 6:31 of the first period. Kyle Palmieri brought the puck up ice on the left side and sent a pass to Beauchemin, who scored his fourth goal in the past eight games on a shot off the left post.

Center Brian Flynn and left wing Torrey Mitchell each made his Montreal debut. Acquired on Monday in separate trades with the Buffalo Sabres, they were on the ice for Anaheim's first two goals.

Flynn won seven of 10 faceoffs. Montreal coach Michel Therrien said he liked what he saw from Flynn and Mitchell, and he even was pleased by the Canadiens' effort.

"I liked the way we played," Therrien said. "We competed hard. This is an elite team. I liked the way we pushed the pace. We put a lot of pucks at the net. We had some quality scoring chances tonight and the difference tonight was their goalie. He was phenomenal."

The Canadiens had not scored since David Desharnais' empty-net goal with 2:32 left in the third period of a 4-0 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
06:31ANA Francois Beauchemin (8) ASST: Kyle Palmieri (12), Nate Thompson (11) 1 - 0 ANA
2nd Period
10:16ANA Rickard Rakell (6) ASST: Jiri Sekac (12), Hampus Lindholm (23) 2 - 0 ANA
3rd Period
17:58ANA SHG - EN - Cam Fowler (6) ASST: Ryan Kesler (24) 3 - 0 ANA
18:19MTL PPG - Alex Galchenyuk (19) ASST: Andrei Markov (32), David Desharnais (28) 3 - 1 ANA
Three Stars of the Game
John Gibson
SA: 38TOI: 60:00
GA: 1EV: 32-32
PIM: 0PP: 3-4
SV%: .974SH: 2-2
Francois Beauchemin
G: 1Shots: 6
A: 0Hits: 1
PTS: 1PIM: 2
+/-: 2TOI: 22:07
Jiri Sekac
G: 0Shots: 1
A: 1Hits: 1
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 8:54
Penalty Summary
1st Period
01:39MTL Brandon Prust  Fighting (maj) against  Patrick Maroon
01:39ANA Patrick Maroon  Fighting (maj) against  Brandon Prust
2nd Period
04:28ANA Ryan Kesler  Slashing against  David Desharnais
07:05ANA Francois Beauchemin  Interference against  Max Pacioretty
17:36MTL Devante Smith-Pelly  Too many men/ice - bench
3rd Period
17:52ANA Clayton Stoner  Delay of game
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays1/30/1
Faceoff Wins3541
Blocked Shots1214
Penalty Minutes711
8B. PrustL00-1159:33
11B. GallagherR00-15020:22
14T. PlekanecC0004019:27
17T. MitchellC00-2209:57
21D. Smith-PellyR0004012:56
22D. WeiseR000009:47
25J. De La RoseL0002011:51
26J. PetryD00-11020:46
27A. GalchenyukC10-12016:35
28N. BeaulieuD0000012:43
32B. FlynnC00-20011:45
51D. DesharnaisC01-10019:22
55S. GoncharD0000012:59
67M. PaciorettyL00-18021:05
76P. SubbanD00-22026:43
77T. GilbertD00-10020:07
79A. MarkovD01-20026:42
81L. EllerC00-17017:09
31C. Price3032.93858:12
3C. StonerD0002217:03
4C. FowlerD1011022:54
7A. CoglianoL0011012:56
10C. PerryR0002020:25
14T. FleischmannL0001016:26
15R. GetzlafC0011020:45
16E. EtemR0011010:32
17R. KeslerC0113219:08
19P. MaroonL0000511:13
21K. PalmieriR0110014:10
23F. BeaucheminD1026222:07
24S. DespresD0012021:01
33J. SilfverbergR0004017:55
42J. MansonD0001017:22
44N. ThompsonC0112013:28
46J. SekacL011108:54
47H. LindholmD0123019:37
67R. RakellC101209:37
36J. Gibson3738.97460:00