Gibson, Ducks hold off Islanders

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[October 12, 2017]  ANAHEIM, Calif. -- If a hockey team is going to struggle on the power play the way the Anaheim Ducks have, it pays to have a solid penalty-killing unit and clutch goaltending.

That was the formula the Ducks used Wednesday night to hold off the New York Islanders for a 3-2 victory at Honda Center despite being outshot 41-30 and failing to cash in on five power-play chances.

The Ducks (2-1-1) snapped a two-game losing streak thanks to goals from Andrew Cogliano, Rickard Rakell and Patrick Eaves, 39 saves from goaltender John Gibson and a penalty kill unit that held the Islanders scoreless on five power-play chances of their own.

New York (1-2-1) got two goals from Brock Nelson and 27 saves from Jaroslav Halak.

Both teams are now 0-for-15 on the power play this season.

The Ducks scored just 37 seconds into the game when Cogliano gathered a rebound off a missed shot from Josh Manson and smoothly guided a backhand shot past Halak for his second goal of the season.

However, after successfully killing a New York power play, the Ducks lost zip, failing to control the puck or create any kind of real offensive structure.

The Islanders drew even at 1-1 when defensemen Scott Mayfield's shot from the point was deflected by center Nelson past Gibson at 13:09 of the first.

"We're going to have to find another formula as far as trying to stimulate our group from the start of the game," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle, who earned his 412th career win to move one behind Hall of Famer Jack Adams for 32nd place all-time. "We scored our goal, killed a penalty and then we go flat.

"We relied on our goaltender to bail us out. Your goaltender can only do that so many times. That has to change with our group. We played better after the first period and got ourselves back into the hockey game."

Islanders coach Doug Weight saw his team generate several promising shots both on the power play and from five-on-five situations.

"We did some great things," he said, "but we have to find a way to put some pucks in the back of the net. This is a game we should win."

After a first period mostly dominated by the Islanders, who finished with a 21-6 advantage in shots on goal, Anaheim came out for the second with more energy, quickly closed the gap in shots and took a 2-1 lead at 8:39.

Rakell deflected a long blast that came off the stick of teammate Cam Fowler and watched it slide through Halak's pads before the goalie could react.

It was Rakell's second goal of the season. His solid play, along with the return of Eaves, who missed the first three games with a lower-body injury, provided Anaheim with its best lineup of the season so far.

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Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson (36) blocks a shot against New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) during the first period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Eaves, who scored a career-high 32 goals last season, put the Ducks up 3-1 at 5:32 of the third period when he gathered a pass from Manson and ripped a shot past Halak. The crowd, which had been mostly muted most of the evening, let out one of its largest roars of the night for the bearded fan favorite, who has 17 career game-winners.

"I just shot it as hard as I could, really wasn't aiming," Eaves said. "I didn't have an angle, but Mans (Manson) laid a flat puck out there for me so I could get a lot on it."

The Islanders did not go away quietly, however.

Nelson scored his second goal of the game at 7:57.

The Ducks appeared to make it 4-2 at 8:32 of the third when Derek Grant redirected a shot past Halak; but, after a challenge from Weight, Anaheim was called for being offside upon entering the zone 19 seconds earlier.

It would have been Grant's first career NHL goal.

The overturned goal only temporarily delayed frustration for the Islanders, however. They opened a four-game trip, which includes three games in California, by dropping a contest they felt could have gone their way.

"I think parts of our game are really coming along, and there's obviously some areas we can clean up," said New York captain John Tavares, who managed four shots but was mostly held in check. "It's four games (into the season), so there's no reason to feel panic or not stick together."

The Ducks travel to Colorado for their first road game of the season Friday night while the Islanders continue their trip at San Jose on Saturday night.

NOTES: Ducks RW Ondrej Kase did not play after sustaining a head injury against Calgary on Monday. Coach Randy Carlyle said Kase is day-to-day. ... Anaheim LW Nick Ritchie (lower-body injury) skated Wednesday morning but was scratched. ... RW Cal Clutterbuck (hip) missed his third consecutive game. ... New York RW Josh Ho-Sang finished with two assists, giving him three on the season.

[ 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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