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Gibson Rebounds, Ducks Sweep Flames

Goalie makes 36 saves in series clinching victory

NHL

CALGARY-Despite his team overcoming a three-goal deficit in Game 3, Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson was surely not happy about his performance. The 23-year-old was pulled halfway through the game after allowing four goals on 16 shots. In Game 4, Gibson was on his game to help his team close out the series.

Gibson made 36 saves to help backstop Anaheim to a 3-1 win in Game 4 on Wednesday night that helped the Ducks sweep the Calgary Flames.

Anaheim was determined to have a better start in Game 4 than they did in Game 3. And it didn’t take long for them to achieve it.

5:38 into the game, Patrick Eaves gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead. Eaves picked up a loose puck on the left wing wall, almost right on the goal line. The right winger threw the puck on net and it went through Flames goalie Brian Elliott to give Anaheim the early advantage.

The goal was Eaves’ first of the postseason.

Not only did that goal give the Ducks a lead, it meant the end of the night for Elliott. Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan pulled his starter after the goal in favor of back up Chad Johnson. Elliott finished the night with two saves on three shots.

Things didn’t start well for Johnson, either. Just 1:08 after Eaves’ goal, center Nate Thompson made it 2-0 for the visitors.

Rickard Rakell fired a snap shot from the left wing that Johnson could not handle properly. He spit out a fat rebound right into the slot and Thompson buried it for his second goal in two games.

The Flames didn’t go away, though, despite being down 2-0 early.

Calgary carry the play for most of the second half of the first period as Anaheim seemed content with defending. However, Gibson held his ground as he stopped all 12 shots he faced in the first. The teams would head to the first intermission with Anaheim ahead 2-0.

FLAMES POWER-PLAY STRIKES AGAIN

In the second, things seemed to pick up where they left off. The Flames created more of the dangerous scoring chances and would out-shoot the Ducks in the period again. Gibson would hold Calgary at bay, until their power-play struck yet again.

With 4:36 left in the middle period, Ryan Kesler was called for hooking, giving the Flames their eighth straight power-play in the series. 43 seconds into the man-advantage, center Sean Monahan batted a waist-high puck into the net to get the Flames to within one goal.

It was Monahan’s fourth goal of the series, all of them coming on the power-play. It was also Calgary’s sixth goal on the man-advantage in the series.

The game would head to the third period with the Ducks holding a 2-1 lead.

The Flames would make a push in the third to try and tie the game and extend their season. Gibson and the Ducks’ defense, however, stood up to the challenge and frustrated Calgary.

With 2:39 left in the game, Gulutzan gamled it all and pulled Johnson for an extra attacker. The Flames were able to get chances being up a man, but could not beat Gibson. Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf would then wrap up the game, and series, in the dying seconds of the game.

After battling a loose puck out of the zone, Getzlaf would hit center red and fire the puck into the empty for his third goal, and fifth point, of the series to help seal a Ducks sweep with 6.7 seconds left.

DUCKS MOVE ON TO SECOND ROUND

Anaheim becomes the first team to advance to the second round this playoff year. The series sweep marks the fifth time in franchise history the Ducks sweep a best-of-7 series.

According to the NHL’s media site, it is also the first sweep in the playoffs since Chicago swept Minnesota in the second round of the 2015 postseason.

The series victory continued Anaheim’s playoff domination of the Flames. This meeting was third time the teams have met in the playoffs. The Ducks improved to 12-4 against Calgary all-time in the postseason, going 8-1 in their last two series meetings.

They also continued a trend of dominating Canadian opponents in the playoffs. Since the start of the 2007 playoffs, Anaheim is 20-3 against teams north of the border, per the NHL’s media site.

The Ducks will now wait for their second round opponent. That opponent will be the winner of the San Jose Sharks-Edmonton Oilers series. The series is currently even at 2-2 with Game 5 being tonight in Edmonton (10:30 PM ET, NBCSN, SN, TVAS, NBCSCA).

THREE STARS OF THE GAME:

1ST STAR: John Gibson, ANA

2ND STAR: Sean Monahan, CGY

3RD STAR: Nate Thompson, ANA

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