LOS ANGELES – John Gibson made 28 saves in his dynamic NHL playoff debut, captain Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist, and the Anaheim Ducks evened their second-round playoff series with a 2-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 on Saturday night.
Devante Smith-Pelly also scored in the first period and Corey Perry had two assists for the top-seeded Ducks, who bounced back from two series-opening losses at home with consecutive victories at Staples Center.
Anaheim started its third goalie in three games with the dramatic entrance of Gibson, the 20-year-old American widely considered the best goaltending prospect in hockey.
Jonathan Quick allowed two goals in the first period before getting replaced by rookie Martin Jones, who faced just three shots.
Game 5 is Monday night in Anaheim.
The visiting team is dominating the series between teams separated by 30 miles on the I-5 freeway, and Anaheim ramped up its defense downtown to even the series – even with a revolving door in the crease.
Gibson, who made his NHL debut with three victories late in the regular season, got the nod from coach Bruce Boudreau in place of veteran Jonas Hiller, who started the first two games against Los Angeles and finished Game 3 after Frederik Andersen injured his right leg.
Three days after Gibson made 39 saves in an AHL playoff game in Newfoundland, he coolly backstopped the Ducks through the final 40 minutes, which were largely dominated by the Kings.
After a dismal first period by Los Angeles, Jones replaced the Conn Smythe Trophy-winning Quick in coach Darryl Sutter’s apparent attempt to wake up the Kings, who then held the Ducks without a shot in the second period.
But after losing twice at home to open the series, the Ducks took control of both games at Staples Center with first-period goals.
Smith-Pelly, who replaced injured Matt Beleskey on Anaheim’s top line, pushed past Drew Doughty into the Kings’ zone and converted a pass from Perry for his third goal of his first NHL playoff run.
Getzlaf had the second assist, and he got his own goal on a power play 2:43 later on his 29th birthday. The Anaheim captain threw the puck into Quick’s crease from behind the net, and it banked off the Kings and in for Getzlaf’s team-leading fourth goal of the postseason.
The Kings took control of the second period after Jones replaced Quick, but had no goals to show for it. Getzlaf even saved a goal early in the second period, blocking Doughty’s look at an open net.
Anaheim had never played a shot-free period in its playoff history, and Los Angeles had never held a playoff opponent without a shot for a full period. The Ducks played more than 25 1/2 minutes without a shot until a power play created by Anze Kopitar’s double minor for high-sticking Andrew Cogliano early in the third.
Gibson made several big saves in the final minutes, stopping Kopitar, Jake Muzzin and Tyler Toffoli during one spectacular sequence.