Ducks’ win streak ends with OT loss to Capitals

ANAHEIM — How about taking a brief pause in the non-stop trade activity/rumors/speculation to spend a moment appreciating goaltender John Gibson?

Or two.

The Ducks and Gibson were outshot 39-23 – a season-long trend – but came away with a point in a 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night at Honda Center with Tom Wilson scoring the winner, shooting a bouncing puck between Gibson’s legs at 1:09 of overtime, for his second goal of the game.

A five-hole finale.

Tom Wilson scores the @SUBWAYCanada OT winner for the Washington Capitals.

— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) March 2, 2023

“Wilson came in with a lot of speed on that one,” Ducks forward Trevor Zegras said. “Tried to get my stick on it. But he goes five-hole. Pretty unlucky. Probably could have played it better.”

The loss denied the Ducks’ bid for their first four-game win streak of the season.

Gibson made 36 saves – practically a light night for him – and Troy Terry continued his torrid run with his fourth goal in as many games, and Zegras ended a goal-scoring drought, scoring his first goal in nine games.

Zegras finished off a quick passing play with Mason McTavish to pull the Ducks to a 2-2 tie at 4:17 of the third period and celebrated like someone who hadn’t scored since Feb. 10.

@BudLight | #BudLightCelly

— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) March 2, 2023

Sitting out the game for trade-related reasons were defensemen John Klingberg and Dmitry Kulikov, pending unrestricted free agents who could be moved ahead of Friday’s noon PT deadline. Defenseman Scott Harrington, claimed on waivers from the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, made his Ducks debut and played 13-plus minutes.

“We’ll see what the next few days bring but that was a great opportunity for (Colton) White and Harrington to get in there and show what they can do,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said of the two defensemen, who drew into the lineup.

The Ducks twice fought back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to push the game to overtime.

Terry’s goal from the right circle, beating Capitals goalie Darcy Kuemper to his stick side came at 13:01 of the first period, tying it 1-1. It was his 17th goal of the season.

If anything, Terry is on a better run in his return from an upper-body injury, which forced him to miss seven games. Terry has scored a goal in each of the four games since returning.

“When you have a guy that can possess the puck and skate like he can through the neutral zone and penetrate their defense and that can shoot like he can, it’s really irreplaceable,” Ducks forward Ryan Strome said of Terry. “Our difference-maker every time he is on the ice. He’s obviously a fantastic player. Maybe playing in Anaheim he doesn’t get the credit as he probably deserves around the league. I hope he keeps progressing because the sky’s the limit for him.”

So, returning to Gibson, who was named the NHL’s Third Star of the Week, for the week ending on Sunday. Eakins asserted the other day that Gibson should have been “first,” but it’s a tough ask when Edmonton’s Connor McDavid (first star) and Boston’s Linus Ullmark (second star) are in the conversation. It’s also hard to ignore the fact Ullmark became the 13th goalie in NHL history to score a goal.

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Gibson had wrapped up his impressive week with a 51-save against Carolina and became the first goalie to record three 50-save performances in a single month. The first to do so was Gump Worsley in January of 1963 with the New York Rangers.

There was an element of the past and future – in the goalie category – because, by coincidence, retired goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere happened to be on hand for the Ducks-Capitals game. Giguere is in town on a family trip.

“On the Gibson Watch. He’s creeping up on my stuff,” Giguere said, smiling, after the game.

Gibson is in pursuit of several franchise records that belong to Giguere, the goalie who has played the most games (447), won the most games (206) and recorded the most shutouts (32) in Ducks history. Gibson stands third in games played (420) behind Giguere and Guy Hebert (441), second in wins (178) and third in shutouts (24) behind Giguere and Hebert (27).

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