Share This Page
NHL

Whitehall native Gibson plays starring role in goal for Ducks

| Sunday, May 11, 2014, 10:00 p.m.
Getty Images
Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson makes a save in front of the L.A. Kings' Tanner Pearson during the second period of Game 4 of the Second Round of the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on May 10, 2014 in Los Angeles.

NEW YORK — Whitehall's John Gibson long has been considered a future star.

The future is now.

Gibson, who plays for the Anaheim Ducks, became the first goalie in the modern NHL era to record a shutout in his first regular-season and postseason game. The Ducks defeated Los Angeles, 2-0, in Saturday's Game 4 to even the series.

“I have friends on Twitter and friends still in Pittsburgh who are so excited about John Gibson,” former Penguins and current Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy said. “But they're not nearly as excited as the guys were in this room last night playing in front of him.”

Gibson, 20, will start Game 5 on Monday night.

“I'm just going to be ready when my name is called,” Gibson said.

Coach Bruce Boudreau said Gibson will make the fifth start of his NHL career in a game to decide which team moves to the brink of the Western Conference finals.

Gibson would be under a mountain of pressure — if he actually noticed that sort of thing.

“It's not a difficult decision (in Game 5),” Boudreau said. “He came in. He played great. ... We knew L.A. hadn't seen him, so they probably wouldn't have a good scouting report on him.”

Gibson was imperturbable while winning the first showdown of his career with Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick, who got pulled by Kings coach Darryl Sutter after allowing two first-period goals in Game 4. Gibson claims he was having fun, but his teammates and coaches certainly couldn't tell.

“I saw that on a nightly basis all year, so that doesn't surprise me,” said Ducks forward Devante Smith-Pelly, who scored in Game 4 after spending most of the season with Gibson and the AHL's Norfolk Admirals.

“Knowing his personality, I knew he would be all right. He just goes out and plays his game. Never gets rattled.”

The Ducks kept Gibson in the minors this year to keep him active instead of sitting behind Jonas Hiller or Frederik Andersen, but he made his NHL debut with a shutout in Vancouver last month. He still hasn't lost for the Ducks, going 4-0 while stopping 111 of 115 shots.

No NHL goalie had recorded a shutout in his first playoff game since Hiller, who did it in 2009.

Yet his new Anaheim fans and his older teammates still don't know much about Gibson — including 43-year-old Teemu Selanne, who had just finished his record-setting rookie season in Winnipeg when Gibson was born in 1993.

Three of the four local players selected in the first three rounds of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft — Gibson, the Rangers' J.T. Miller and the Blackhawks' Brandon Saad — reached the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The other, Florida forward Vince Trocheck, scored five goals in 20 games after his NHL debut in March.

Gibson said he hopes the success he is having, along with the other three local players, will go a long way toward making hockey in Pittsburgh a bigger deal.

“Hopefully it will help the city of Pittsburgh with youth hockey and everything like that,” Gibson said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.