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Ducks pull out all the stops, shut out Stars

ANAHEIM — Whether it was a successful debut at 1C by rookie Mason McTavish, the 24th career shutout by goaltender John Gibson or the sheer moxie of Trevor Zegras, there was nearly something for everyone at Honda Center on Wednesday night.

Gibson made 35 saves in leading the Ducks to a 2-0 victory over the Central Division-leading Dallas Stars. McTavish, centering the Ducks’ No. 1 line, had a big first period, setting up Adam Henrique at 3:11 and later scoring a power–play goal from the base of the right circle. The other member of the line, Troy Terry, had an assist, as did Zegras, who set up McTavish’s goal at 11:18.

Also, it was Ducks defenseman John Klingberg’s first game against his former team. Klingberg played eight seasons and 552 games for the Stars and led Dallas defensemen in scoring in seven of his eight seasons.

The Ducks led 2-0 after one period, turned it over to Gibson and held on to defeat the Stars for the first time in seven games, a streak dating to Dec. 12, 2018. Dallas played and lost, 3-2, to the Kings on Tuesday night at Crypto.com Arena. It was the Ducks’ first shutout of the season and the 24th of Gibson’s career but his first since Nov. 2, 2021, against New Jersey.

The Ducks won the battle of special teams, killing off four Stars’ power plays and went 1 for 1 with the man advantage. The Ducks had gone 0 for 5 on the power play against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday and had not scored on a power play since Dec. 23 against Calgary.

“I spoke to our power play today,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said after the morning skate on Wednesday. “I felt like the power play was down. I like that they take ownership. They felt it was on them that we didn’t get the job done against Philly. But they had nine chances on net – we could have easily gone 2 for 5. We did a lot of really good things on the power play. Finishing is great. That’s obviously the goal. But the chances are most important. Without the chances, there are no goals.

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“I wanted that in their heads. It’ll be tougher tonight. It’ll be harder to get to those scoring areas. And we need to be efficient with that.”

Finally, there was Zegras, who will long be remembered for a play in the waning seconds of the second period. Certainly no one can ever accuse him of being dull. Zegras refused to let a broken stick – his own stick, by the way – get in the way of continuing to battle along the boards behind the Ducks’ net. Zegras wrested Stars forward Joel Kiviranta’s stick away from Kiviranta and skated away.

Officially, Zegras was penalized for playing with an illegal stick. Former Duck player Corey Perry would have been proud of such next-level thievery.

Henrique’s goal was his 12th of the season and third in the past four games.

Gibson tied Guy Hebert for second in franchise history with 173 wins.

More to come on this story.

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