It took nearly 11 years, but the Ducks finally found a way to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning in regulation.
Led by a three-assist night from Ryan Getzlaf, a two-goal performance from Rickard Rakell and a stellar effort in net from John Gibson, the Ducks earned a 4-1 victory over the league-leading Lightning at Amalie Arena on Saturday night. The victory snapped Tampa Bay's six-game home winning streak - the longest since a franchise-best nine in a row at Amalie Arena from Jan. 2-Feb. 12, 2016, and represented the first Ducks regulation win over the Lightning since Dec. 9, 2006. Furthermore, the Ducks dealt the Lightning just its second regulation loss all season (the Lightning entered the game with an 8-0-1 record over its past nine games).
The Ducks also held Lightning captain Steven Stamkos and linemate Nikita Kucherov off the scoresheet, ending their respective season-opening 11-game point streaks.
Brandon Montour and Hampus Lindholm also scored for the Ducks, who have won three of their past four games. Gibson improved his record to 5-3-1 in his 10th consecutive start. Sami Vatanen made his season debut in the victory, finishing the game with three blocked shots in 17:12 TOI.
Chris Kunitz scored the lone goal and goaltender Peter Budaj made 17 saves in just his second appearance of the season for the Lightning, who fell to 9-2-1 on the season.
Gibson's best save of the night - and perhaps of the season - came early in the second period when he robbed Lightning forward Yanni Gourde with a desperation glove save while flat on his side. Gibson outstretched his left arm and somehow smothered Gourde's attempt to tuck the puck inside the nearside post, leaving the 25-year-old forward in disbelief.
Video: ANA@TBL: Gibson makes sprawling save on Gourde
Gibson followed it up midway through the middle frame when he denied Vladislav Namestnikov with a save using the knob of his stick. After making the initial stop on Namestnikov's backhand, Gibson stayed with the play and denied the speedy Lightning forward on a subsequent try.
The game remained scoreless until the Ducks struck on the power play at the 10:13 mark of the second period. After keeping the puck in the zone for the first minute of the man advantage, Rakell gained possession of the puck at the top of the near faceoff dot. He used a toe drag to buy some time and space before firing a wrist shot through traffic and past Budaj for his team-leading fourth goal of the season. With an assist on the goal, Montour (playing in his 10th game this season) tied his career high for points in a season (six), established last year in his rookie campaign (27 games).
Video: ANA@TBL: Rakell opens the scoring with PPG
Anaheim made it a 2-0 score with its second consecutive power-play tally, this time from Montour, who hammered a one-timer from the far dot for his fourth goal of the season at the 16:55 mark of the second period. With the goal, Montour established a new career high for points in a season (seven) and placed him in a tie with Andrew Cogliano for the team lead in points.
Video: ANA@TBL: Montour rockets one past Budaj for PPG
Tampa Bay responded 57 seconds later when Kunitz buried a loose puck that sat in the crease. Gibson made the initial stop on JT Brown, but could not recover in time to get a piece of Kunitz's scoring attempt. Kunitz, a four-time Stanley Cup winner, earned his first Cup with the Ducks in 2007.
Just when it seemed like both clubs would go into their dressing rooms with a 2-1 score, the Ducks delivered with a true buzzer beater. After a loose puck made its way into the high slot and onto Lindholm's stick, he sent a wrist shot past Budaj that crossed the stripe with 0.1 seconds left on the clock. After a brief review, the call on the ice stood, giving the Ducks a 3-1 lead. The goal pushed Lindholm past Lubomir Visnovsky (29) for sole possession of eighth on the franchise's all-time goals list for defensemen. With the lone assist, Chris Wagner increased his point total to six (2g/4a) over his past five games, just one point shy of his career high (7) set last year in 43 games.
Video: ANA@TBL: Lindholm beats the buzzer to pad Ducks' lead
Anaheim's top line delivered again midway through the third period when Rakell finished a slick pass from Getzlaf to make it 4-1. Getzlaf found Rakell uncontested in the high slot and the young Swede used a one-timer to beat Budaj blocker side.
Video: ANA@TBL: Rakell scores his second for 4-1 lead
The Ducks conclude their four-game road trip tomorrow afternoon (2 p.m. PT) against the Carolina Hurricanes.