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game recap

Ducks on cusp of Pacific title

Shut out Blackhawks behind 37 saves by John Gibson

by Dan Arritt / NHL.com Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks moved closer to their fifth consecutive Pacific Division title with a 4-0 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks at Honda Center on Thursday.

The Ducks lead the Edmonton Oilers by four points and San Jose Sharks by six points for first in the division. The Oilers defeated the Sharks 4-2.

 

WATCH: All Blackhawks vs. Ducks highlights

 

Anaheim would have clinched had Edmonton lost, but it did secure home-ice advantage in the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Ducks play the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday in Anaheim's season finale. The Oilers play the Vancouver Canucks in a home-and-home Saturday and Sunday.

John Gibson made 37 saves for his sixth shutout of the season, first since Feb. 19.

"[Gibson] played outstanding," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "We left him high and dry in some situations, and he made some big stops for us."

Video: Gibson earns Thursday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout

Corey Perry, Chris Wagner, Ryan Kesler and Rickard Rakell scored for the Ducks (45-23-13), who began an 8-0-2 run and pulled within four points of the Sharks for first place with a 2-1 victory in San Jose on March 18. Anaheim was nine points back on March 15.

The Blackhawks (50-23-8), who clinched the top seed in the Western Conference on Saturday, rested veterans Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Marian Hossa and Brent Seabrook. It was their third straight loss (0-2-1).

"We're coming back Saturday with one more game," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "We'll try to do the right things and get ready."

The Blackhawks went on the power play five seconds into the game when Ducks defensemen Josh Manson played the puck over the glass in his own end.

Anaheim then had back-to-back power plays early in the first and scored on the second when Perry beat Chicago defenseman Johnny Oduya to the right post and redirected a diagonal pass from Rakell for a 1-0 lead at 6:53.

Wagner made it 2-0 at 17:08 of the second period with his sixth goal. He was checked into the boards by Blackhawks forward Andrew Desjardins and fell to the ice near the red line. Wagner got up as the puck went behind the Chicago net and skated into the zone unnoticed. He tapped his stick, and Ondrej Kase passed to him for his second goal in as many games.

Kesler scored at 4:42 of the third period to put Anaheim up 3-0, and Rakell made it 4-0 with his 33rd goal at 14:43.

"We're playing really good hockey," Kesler said. "We continued that tonight."

Video: CHI@ANA: Perry caps off pretty passing play for PPG

 

Goal of the game

Jakob Silfverberg created a turnover in the Chicago zone, and after getting the puck back from Andrew Cogliano, he sent it to Cogliano behind the net. Cogliano made a spinning, backhand feed to Kesler in front for his 22nd goal.

Video: CHI@ANA: Kesler nets Cogliano's spinning feed

 

Save of the game

Gibson moved the puck behind his own net after playing a dump-in by Patrick Kane from the blue line, but Kane got to it first and passed to Nick Schmaltz cutting through the slot all alone. Gibson got down to make the save at 13:37 of the third period before denying Schmaltz on the rebound of his initial shot.

Video: CHI@ANA: Gibson lays out to rob Schmaltz's attempt

 

Highlight of the game

Ryan Getzlaf sent a wrist shot into traffic from the high slot, and Rakell stuck out his stick with his right hand while he spun to face the net. His no-look, one-handed deflection went in between goalie Corey Crawford's pads.

Video: CHI@ANA: Rakell scores with skillful redirect

 

Unsung performance of the game

Jaycob Megna was one of three defensemen who spent the majority of the season with San Diego of the American Hockey League to step up for the Ducks, who announced before the game that defenseman Cam Fowler will be out 2-6 weeks with a lower-body injury sustained against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday. Anaheim also was without defensemen Hampus Lindholm (upper body) and Korbinian Holzer (personal). Megna, called up earlier in the day to make his NHL debut, was plus-1 in 15:20, Brandon Montour was plus-1 with one shot on goal, one hit and two blocked shots in 18:53, and Shea Theodore was plus-2 with three shots, one hit and one block in 20:57.

 

They said it

"We had a few tough breaks where pucks are lying there and [Gibson] made some good saves, and we hit a couple posts too." -- Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane

 

"They had some chances, but they had some guys out, so it was a little bit different than we're used to."  -- Ducks goalie John Gibson on the Blackhawks resting several veterans

 

Video: CHI@ANA: Kase sets up Wagner from down low

 

Need to know

Desjardins (lower body) and defenseman Michal Rozsival (upper body) left the game in the third period because of injury. Each is day to day, Quenneville said. … Rakell has 12 points (six goals, six assists) in the past 14 games. ... Getzlaf has 24 points (four goals, 20 assists) in his past 17 games. ... Anaheim forward Patrick Eaves had an assist on Rakell's goal and has nine points (eight goals, one assist) in the past 10 games. ... Perry has seven points (five goals, two assists) in the past eight games. ... Kesler has eight points (two goals, six assists) in the past eight games. ... Anaheim forward Nate Thompson (upper body) is day to day.

 

What's next

Blackhawks: At the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday (6 p.m. ET; FS-W, CSN-CH, NHL.TV)

Ducks: Host the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday (8:30 p.m. ET; PRIME, FS-W, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Gibson, Rakell lead Ducks to 4-0 win over Blackhawks

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