Game 79: Gone in a Flash
Anaheim rookie netminder John Gibson, making his first career NHL start, stopped all 18 shots he faced while Daniel Winnik, Kyle Palmieri and Matt Beleskey each found the back of the net as the Ducks rolled to an easy 3-0 win over the Canucks at Rogers Arena.
Eddie Lack, who was making his 19th consecutive start between the pipes, made 20 saves on 23 shots for the Canucks, who were officially eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.
The Canucks can finish the season with, at most, 87 points which could tie the currently eighth-place Stars in points but Vancouver would finish behind Dallas regardless because the Stars hold the first tie-breaker which is more regulation or overtime victories.
Needing to earn at least one point out of Monday's game to stay alive in the playoff chase, it was apparent early on that this was not going to be the Canucks' night.
The Canucks surrendered a clear-cut breakaway to Andrew Cogliano just 14 seconds into the contest and while Lack was able to give his team an early boost by making a big save, he wasn't able repeat the feat with his team on the power play when Henrik Sedin was stripped in his own end by Winnik who then managed to stare down Lack and beat him stick side to open the scoring at 6:26 of the opening period.
Vancouver's best scoring opportunities on this night, sadly, came in the first period where they only managed six shots.
Yannick Weber and Alex Edler both struck iron on the same Canucks' power play that yielded the game's opening goal, while Ryan Kesler had a shorthanded breakaway attempt late in the opening frame that was thwarted by a nifty defensive play by 20-year-old blue-liner Hampus Lindholm.
The Canucks managed a meagre three shots in the second period and, when Palmieri made it 2-0 by deflecting a Ben Lovejoy point shot past Lack with less than three minutes remaining in the middle frame, it was clear the Fat Lady was going to sing on this night.
Beleskey would put the final nail in the Canucks' coffin and round out the scoring in the contest early in the third period finishing a beautiful three-way passing play with linemates Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry by snapping a shot blocker side on Lack.
While the Canucks' dwindling playoff hopes was the primary focus heading into Monday's contest, the secondary storyline was Selanne playing not only his final regular season game in Vancouver but in Canada as well.
Selanne, like the Canucks' offence, demonstrated little on this night as the Ducks' sniper was held off the scoresheet and managed just a single shot on goal.
The Canucks host the playoff-bound Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.
NOTES AND NUMBERS: The Ducks extended their win streak over the Canucks to six games... Anaheim tied their franchise record for most points in a single season with 110 (previously set in 2006.07 in their Stanley Cup season)... Yannick Weber returned to the Canucks' lineup after missing Saturday’s game with an undisclosed injury... Teemu Selanne finished with one shot, one hit and zero points in 13:37 of ice-time in his final game in Vancouver and final regular season game in Canada.
RECORDS GALORE: Ducks rookie goalie John Gibson knew he would be setting a couple of franchise records even before Monday's game began but now he has a couple more to add to the list. Gibson, a second round pick of the Ducks back in 2011, became the youngest goaltender to appear in a game as well as start a game for the Ducks in their franchise history at 20 years and 267 days. Current Minnesota Wild Ilya Bryzgalov was previously the youngest goalie to appear in a game for the Ducks (21 years and 108 days), while former NHLer Michael Wall was previously the youngest goalie to start a game for the Ducks (21 years and 124 days). With his victory and first career NHL shutout, Gibson also becomes to youngest player in Ducks franchise history to achieve those feats.
NOT SINCE JIGGY: As dominant as the Ducks have been in this year's season series, they hadn't managed to hold the Canucks completely off the scoresheet until tonight when Gibson pitched a shutout in his NHL debut. Gibson, in fact, is the first Duck in nearly eight years to blank the Canucks. To find the last time the Ducks shutout the Canucks, you'd have to go all the way back to November 9, 2006. On that night, J.S. Giguere turned aside 20 shots and Shane O'Brien scored the game-winner in a 6-0 Anaheim victory. The Ducks, of course, would go on that season to capture the Stanley Cup.