The Ducks finally overcame the man once referred to as Godzilla. It took some big weapons.
Specifically, those were Ryan Getzlaf’s first goal at Honda Center this season, followed by a dazzling overtime goal by Rickard Rakell to back up another fine game by goalie John Gibson that allowed the Ducks to beat goalie Ben Bishop and the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2-1, on Tuesday.
Rakell’s 19th goal, in his 36th game, came off a four-on-three faceoff play 54 seconds in when teammate Ryan Kesler tied up a defender. Rakell scooted through traffic and Bishop didn’t move when Rakell snapped it past him.
“I just tried to snap it as quick as I could once I had it on my stick,” Rakell said.
It was only the second win by the Ducks this season in overtime, and it might be considered their first definitive overtime triumph, considering their other victory came against the Arizona Coyotes on a fluke goalie miscue.
It was also further proof that Rakell has some of the best hands in the game.
“He can really hurt the opposition and make a contribution and not really have a lot of chances,” Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle said. “That’s the art of a guy that can snipe.”
Carlyle also pointed to Gibson and his 27 saves, which kept pace with the 6-foot-7 Bishop, nicknamed Godzilla during the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.
Tampa Bay started him for the second straight day. Before Tuesday, Bishop was 6-0-1 with a 1.03 goals-against average in his career against Anaheim.
But Gibson provided a strong counterpoint. He led all NHL goalies in January with a 1.42 goals-against average and .956 save percentage. His right-pad stop on Gabriel Dumont early in the third kept the score 1-1.
“He played great again,” Getzlaf said. “Our goaltending has a been outstanding all season long. There’s been no questions there.”
Tampa Bay was without top defenseman Victor Hedman for the second game in a row because of illness. It managed a 2-1 win the previous day against the Kings, and Tuesday’s shaped up as another low-scoring contest.
“We were boring tonight,” Getzlaf said. “There’s no doubt about that.”
The Ducks began with a two-shot first period that was highlighted by missed open nets by Getzlaf and Tampa’s Valtteri Filppula.
Neither missed in the second period. Filppula tapped in a loose puck in the crease at 4:36. Getzlaf responded 21 seconds later with a throw-it-on-net shot that clanked in off both goal posts.
Bishop appeared to stop following the play as teammate Cedric Paquette carried it out of Tampa’s zone, and Paquette turned the puck over to Getzlaf.
“I think [Bishop] was yelling at the ref,” Getzlaf said. “I think he wanted a whistle, maybe, because he got hit in the head earlier, with a backhand earlier. I just back-checked and the puck ended up on my stick.”
Defenseman Shea Theodore and forward Stefan Noesen were recalled a day after they were reassigned, although it was not believed to be a salary-cap-saving measure. The Ducks’ lineup was otherwise the same, with defenseman Korbinian Holzer in again after he came out fine from a tumble into the boards Sunday.