Boudreau's gamble on Gibson pays off as Ducks win

John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks makes a save against the Los Angeles Kings during the second...

John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks makes a save against the Los Angeles Kings during the second period in Game 4 at the Staples Center on May 10, 2014. (Harry How/Getty Images/AFP)

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:32 AM ET

Bruce Boudreau played the rookie card in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinal. And it paid off.

The Anaheim Ducks coach started rookie goaltender John Gibson on Saturday, a day after being recalled from their AHL affiliate in Norfolk.

Gibson made 28 saves in his NHL playoff debut, backstopping the Ducks to a 2-0 win and tying the series with the scene shifting back to Anaheim for Game 5 on Monday.

Devante Smith-Pelly and Ryan Getzlaf scored for Anaheim in the victory. Jonathan Quick made nine saves for the Kings before getting the hook after the first period. Martin Jones made three saves in relief.

Gibson is the third goaltender the Ducks have used in the series, with Jonas Hiller starting the first two games and Frederik Andersen playing the third.

Andersen was injured in the 3-2 win Friday, prompting the need to call up Gibson, who had been outstanding for Norfolk in the AHL playoffs.

With the 20-year-old considered a blue chip prospect and Hiller on his way out the door at the end of the year, Boudreau went with the Ducks goaltender of the future -- and hoped he would be able to win them a game now.

Gibson spent nearly the entire year in the minors, suiting up in just three games for the Ducks. He won them all.

Despite his youth and inexperience, and the fact he was playing in a hostile environment where Hiller has never won, Gibson was outstanding.

He made nine saves in the first period, his finest coming on Marian Gaborik. The Kings winger took a feed from a Anze Kopitar streaking towards the net, and lifted a shot placed for the top corner. Gibson, however, was able to get his glove up in time to catch a piece of the puck, knocking it wide.

Smith-Pelly opened the scoring 16 minutes into the first, taking a sneaky feed from Corey Perry in tight and lifting a shot over Quick.

The goal was Smith-Pelly’s third of the playoffs and first of the series, despite having a number of quality chances throughout.

With Matt Beleskey picking up an injury in Game 3, Smith-Pelly was moved up to the top line with Getzlaf and Perry, and reaped the benefits.

Getzlaf increased the Ducks’ lead before the end of the period, banking a shot in off the mask of Quick. Getzlaf had failed to connect on an open net off a feed from Perry, but gathered the puck behind the goal line and eventually did finish off the play off Quick’s face.

Not happy with his team’s play, Kings head coach Darryl Sutter sent rookie netminder Martin Jones to start the second period, countering the Ducks farmhand.

Jones might as well have stayed on the bench, though, as Anaheim failed to collect a shot in the period, spending most of it in their own end.

The Kings responded to the pulling of Quick by turning the pressure up on Anaheim. However, they were unable to beat Gibson, who got a little help from Getzlaf as the Ducks captain turned away a Drew Doughty shot off a scramble in front with a fine kick save of his own.

Gibson finished with 12 saves in the second, the best coming on Kings winger Tanner Pearson, who had the Ducks goaltender sliding in the opposite direction, but still saw his shot kicked away.

In the third, the Ducks were finally able to register a shot shortly after Kopitar took a double-minor for getting his stick up on Andrew Cogliano.

Anaheim managed three shots on the power play, but were unable to extend their lead.

After killing off the penalty, the Kings went back to work, trying to beat Gibson, but despite generating a number of quality chances, they were unable to get a shot past him.


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