Desperation met desperation, but the Kings met John Gibson again.
With great urgency for points, the Ducks and Kings played a game decided by the slimmest of margins. Both sides hit the post or crossbar in the final period, plus several other near-misses at both ends in a free-flowing contest that had 35 total faceoffs.
Through it all, Ducks goalie Gibson emerged with his second shutout in his past three starts, a 1-0 win against the Kings on Sunday night. His 24 saves added up to his second shutout of the Kings this season, and they made defenseman Josh Manson’s second-period goal the game winner at Honda Center.
It was the second 1-0 win by the Ducks in three games in a sign of tight, playoff-like hockey to come.
“That’s the way we want to play,” Gibson said. “Obviously we’re not scoring a ton of goals, so we’ve got to find other ways, and it starts with defense, and we’ve shown we can do it.”
The Ducks made Gibson’s life considerably easier than their 1-0 win against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. Ryan Kesler’s shutdown line matched up against the Kings’ top line centered by Jeff Carter, and the line of Ryan Getzlaf, Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie had jump throughout the game.
Gibson, who has 10 career shutouts, was still impressive. He appeared to get the paddle of his stick on Trevor Lewis’ open-net attempt in the second period, and he gloved Tanner Pearson’s wrist shot in the final minute. “Gibby’s proven himself to be a No. 1 goaltender this year, and we expect nothing else from him every night,” Getzlaf said.
“Any time Getzy gets the puck and turns up with it on that side of the ice, I know he sees you,” Manson said. “He sees everything on the ice. I just tried to find a hole and he put it on my tape.”
It was a redemptive play for Manson. He was stripped of the puck on a goal by Jaromir Jagr of the Florida Panthers in Friday’s loss.
“Stuff happens,” Manson said. “It’s hockey. There’s going to be good plays and bad plays. It’s nice to get one, but like anything else, you don’t dwell on it.”
The Kings will try not to dwell on their third straight loss out of the bye week. They have not had a lead in five of their past six games.
Not even one goal allowed by goalie Peter Budaj was enough. Adrian Kempe hit the post on a backhand swipe early in the third period. The Kings were gifted a power play with 5:40 to go because of a too-many-men penalty by the Ducks but got no shots.
“We didn’t give up a whole lot, but in order to win games, you’ve got to score goals, and I don’t think we did enough on the power play to generate chances, create some type of momentum our way,” Kings center Anze Kopitar said. “We’ve got to look at that. It’s one of the things we’ve got to get better at.”
The Kings are two points out of a playoff spot.
“We’ve got to find a way to win these games,” Budaj said. “These are important points for us, and we can’t let these points slip away. It doesn’t matter if it’s 1-0 or 10-0, it’s a loss.”
DUCKS AT ARIZONA COYOTES
When: 6 p.m. PST.
On the air: TV: Prime; Radio: 830.
Update: Coyotes center Martin Hanzal has five goals in his last five games and is one goal short of matching his career-high 16.