Does that mean the 21-year-old has moved ahead of 30-game-winning goalie Frederik Andersen on Anaheim’s depth chart?
“Don’t draw anything from it,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We’ve got our plan. We’re following our plan. This is part of the plan.”
Andersen was given back-to-back starts March 6 and March 9, but lost both. Gibson responded to a loss at Calgary by beating Minnesota and Nashville.
“If my name’s called to go to the net, I go to the net. Just doing my job,” Gibson said Wednesday after leaving the ice first at the Ducks’ morning skate.
The Ducks (44-20-7) have a wide lead in the Pacific Division, but are in a tight race for the Western Conference lead and wouldn’t mind dealing the Kings a loss since the visitors are barely hanging on to a playoff spot as the division's third-place team.
“We hope they don’t make it,” Boudreau said. “They’re a great team. They’re Stanley Cup champions.”
Gibson beat the Kings on Feb. 27 in Anaheim, when the Ducks rallied for four third-period goals to win, 4-2.
Andersen is 2-0-1 against L.A. and said Tuesday he's aware he needs to work harder to prove he's recovered fully from a head/back injury suffered in early February.
“We’re winning so I think we just want to keep winning, head to the playoffs feeling good about ourselves,” Gibson said.
Wednesday’s game “is a little more special, a rivalry, playoffs last year. We wanted to win a Stanley Cup, they beat us. We want to win a Stanley Cup [now].”
SHARP OPINIONS: Ducks forward Matt Beleskey, who suffered a groin injury in last season's playoff series and watched his team's Game 7 elimination from his basement television in Canada, said he'd rather have his team beat the Kings again for "a good confidence booster" and also meet them again in the playoffs.
Before Winnipeg won Tuesday night, the first-round playoff series would’ve been Ducks-Kings.
"Perfect," Beleskey said Tuesday. "Every team we play in the first round would be a good matchup, so playing the Kings would be good for California hockey and it makes for an exciting series.
“It'd be nice to get another shot at them after last year. I would love to be able to play the Kings and win that series. Losing Game 7 at home last year, that one still stings, so if it's them, good, I think we'll be ready."
Does he think the Kings will make the postseason?
"They've done some crazy things these past few years, so they very well could."
Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf had a different take.
"They're fighting for their lives .... Of course, we want them out," Getzlaf said. "Anyone that's won two Cups in the last three years, they know what they're doing in the playoffs."
VATANEN STATUS: Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen skated crisply and fired good shots at Wednesday’s skate, but Boudreau strongly implied that he would keep Vatanen out of the lineup again Wednesday night.
The defenseman has been out since Feb. 15 with an unspecified lower-body injury.
“When he’s ready to play, he’ll play,” Boudreau said. “This is the time of year we want to make sure that everyone is completely healthy. He’s close, but I don’t know if he’s 100%. Why take that extra chance?”