By Pete Zarustica
Now, that was a good way to start the New Year! The Anaheim Ducks got sterling performances by John Gibson and Ryan Kesler to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in a shootout Tuesday at Honda Center.
Gibson had 51 saves in goal for the home team, and Kesler scored three goals for his fourth career hat trick. The win lifted the Ducks’ record to 19-12-8, good for 46 points and second place in the NHL Pacific Division, just one point behind the San Jose Sharks.
Kesler scored his 13th and 14th goals of the season in the first period to give Anaheim a 2-1 lead, then extended it to 3-1 when he tallied his 15th at the 1:09 mark of the second period. But the visitors ralled with two goals in the second.
After a scoreless third and a scoreless overtime, the game went into a shootout, with the deciding tally coming on Corey Perry’s goal. Gibson made a save on Sean Couturier’s shot and the Ducks had won. Gibson’s totals were the highest in team history.
“It’s not something that happens every day, but it was a big test,” Gibson said. “There are games when I’ll only see 15 shots. Sometimes you’ll see more than others, and that was the case tonight.”
Next up for the Ducks is another game on Wednesday hosting the Detroit Red Wings (16-16-5).