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Goalie John Gibson is shaky in first game back, but Ducks hang on for victory over Canucks

Goalie John Gibson is shaky in first game back, but Ducks hang on for victory over Canucks
Rickard Rakell of the Ducks skates past Erik Gudbranson of the Vancouver Canucks during the third period. (Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images)

Adam Henrique skated toward the left post, and sharp angle be damned, somehow found a way to slip the puck past Jacob Markstrom with a short-side, top-shelf shot.

It’s the kind of creative offense the Ducks have lacked all season, but for one night only, they were able to generate Grade-A scoring chances at will, and this time, they even buried a few of them.

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The Ducks were on the attack all game Wednesday at Honda Center in a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks to snap a three-game losing streak.

Their two most recent setbacks were overtime defeats, so they’ve now picked up points in three consecutive contests.

“That’s a few games in a row that we’ve put a good effort together and got a few results so we have to just continue to build on this,” said Ryan Getzlaf, who leads the club in both goals (six), assists (10) and points (16) despite missing six games. The captain scored the game’s first goal with a backhand shot off of a turnover by Derek Pouliot.

“We’re taking small steps right now, we’re getting better and better,” Getzlaf said. “I thought we did enough to win tonight.”

Even with a four-goal night — just the third time all season they’ve reached the plateau — the Ducks were forced to sweat it out. The Canucks threatened to tie it during a late onslaught with an extra attacker on the ice, but the Ducks held on after blowing a number of late leads this season.

John Gibson (25 saves on 28 shots) was shaky in net, an outlier in a season full of stellar performances. He missed Sunday’s game while battling the flu, and in his first contest back one of the goals he allowed to the Canucks was too easy.

It happened when Jake Virtanen flung the puck off the boards, and it somehow sneaked through Gibson’s left armpit after first striking the skate of the Canucks’ Nikolay Goldobin. The goal got the Canucks within one with less than 12 minutes remaining.

Ducks forward Kalle Kossila finished off a pass from Brian Gibbons almost three minutes later to pad the Ducks’ lead to two, but it wouldn’t last long. Bo Horvat’s power play goal made it a one-goal game with less than five minutes to play. It was another shot that Gibson usually handles.

“We’ll give him a little bit of a pass; we’ll give all our goaltenders a pass for what they’ve been able to deliver for our hockey club,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said of Gibson’s performance.

“If anything, it’s a little speed bump along the way,” Carlyle said, “and that’s great that we can still get two points when maybe Gibby didn’t have his best night. But he still made some big stops at the right time and held us in there at the end.”

The Ducks also got a power-play goal from Ondrej Kase in the second period.

The 23-year-old was sorely missed from the lineup over the first 18 games as he dealt with a concussion, but he’s been a dependable scoring threat since he returned last week.

The Ducks host the Edmonton Oilers in a Friday matinee before they embark on a five-game road swing, beginning Sunday in Nashville.

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