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Recap: Ducks Hang On to Beat Florida on Hall of Fame Night

by Adam Brady @AdamJBrady /

ANAHEIM - On a night when the franchise honored a couple of legends, the current crop of Ducks put on a nice show of their own.

On Hall of Fame Night to celebrate the recent induction of Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne, Anaheim polished off a five-game homestand with a 3-2 victory over the visiting Florida Panthers at Honda Center. Goalie John Gibson was exceptional with 50 saves (one short of his career high), including a diving glove snag on a partial breakaway by Aleksander Barkov with less than a minute left in the second and a number of acrobatic stops without a stick during a feverish penalty kill in the third.

Video: FLA@ANA: Gibson denies Barkov with strong glove save

"When you come into a game, you might get 10 [saves] or you might get 50," Gibson said. "You have to be ready to play every night."

It was a magical night well before puck drop, as Kariya and Selanne were honored during a pregame ceremony, and all Anaheim players wore either a Selanne Ducks jersey or Kariya Mighty Ducks sweater during warmups. Both players received thunderous ovations as they walked out to center ice for the ceremony and again when each spoke their first words during the Q&A session hosted by Ducks TV analyst Brian Hayward.

"It's a thank you from Teemu and I to all of you for supporting us throughout our entire career," Kariya said to the home crowd during the ceremony. "You've embraced us from day 1, and we are so thankful for you."

Video: Ducks honor Selanne and Kariya entering the HHOF

Near the end of the ceremony, Ducks owner Henry Samueli hinted that Kariya's number 9 would be retired someday, pointing to Selanne's number 8 banner hanging from the rafters and saying, "When you look in the rafters, isn't that number a little lonely?"

All of the Ducks took in the ceremony from the bench, and later it was an unlikely candidate who channeled a little Kariya/Selanne breakaway magic for the game's first score with a minute left in the first. Ducks defenseman Josh Manson got his second goal of the year with a beautiful deke to undress Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo before depositing the puck into a wide open net.

Video: FLA@ANA: Manson beats Luongo on breakaway

Florida looked as if it had tied the game on a Jonathan Huberdeau goal, but it was determined after replay review he had tipped the puck with a high stick.

Instead, the Ducks made it a 2-0 game on the power play when Rickard Rakell slung a wrister off a feed from Chris Wagner for his team-leading seventh of the year.

Video: FLA@ANA: Rakell whips home Wagner's feed for PPG

Florida did cut into the lead with 4 1/2 minutes left in the period on a power play of its own, with Vincent Trocheck connecting from the right wing circle.

Anaheim got another on the power play early in the third, when Corey Perry's shot from the wing deflected off Luongo's mask, and Brandon Montour batted in the bouncing puck.

Video: FLA@ANA: Montour hammers home Perry's rebound for PPG

Florida got within a goal with 2:59 left just after sending Luongo off for an extra attacker, as Keith Yandle buried a shot from the point while Huberdeau screened Gibson in the crease. The Ducks challenged for goalie interference to no avail.

Luongo headed off again in the final minute, and the Ducks missed a couple opportunities to fill the empty net, but Gibson made his 50th save in the final second.

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said Gibson, "Saved our butts" tonight. To tax our goaltender the way we taxed him tonight isn't fair. We need to clean up our game."

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