By Greg Beacham, AP Hockey Writer
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — After a couple of days off to recover from the busiest game of his NHL career, John Gibson had an easier night of work and another impressive result for the Anaheim Ducks.
Gibson made 23 saves in his eighth career shutout, and Nick Ritchie scored in the first period of the Ducks’ 2-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.
The young goalie was solid when tested, but he had practically nothing to do against the Red Wings in comparison to Sunday, when the Philadelphia Flyers bombarded him with 54 shots in Anaheim’s 4-3 shootout victory.
Gibson and the Ducks got their first shutout victory since Nov. 1 despite playing without captain Ryan Getzlaf, who has a lower-body injury. Anaheim spent its days off working on defensive teamwork after getting embarrassed by the Flyers, and it paid off in a cohesive effort against the Red Wings and their struggling power play.
“I think everybody was holding themselves accountable to have a bounce-back defensive game, and I thought we executed pretty well,” Gibson said. “Some games you (face) 15 shots. Some games you get 30 shots, and sometimes you get a whole lot. You just have to be ready.”
Ondrej Kase scored late in the third period and Antoine Vermette had two assists for the Ducks, who have won three of four and earned points in six straight games.
“That was definitely more of what we want to reproduce,” Vermette said. “We want to take more pride in our defensive play, and we were able to reduce both their shots and their scoring chances.”
Petr Mrazek stopped 22 shots in the Red Wings’ first game since losing the NHL Centennial Classic in Toronto on New Year’s Day. Detroit began a three-game California road swing with its eighth loss in 11 games overall, and frustration appears to be bubbling.
“(We had) too many guys that were passengers, (and) not enough guys driving the train,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “It’s disappointing, for certain. We’ve got to be better than that, that’s for sure.”
The Red Wings were shut out for the fifth time this season and failed to score on the power play in their 15th consecutive road game, extending their inexplicable drought away from home to 0 for 51.
Detroit also lost Brendan Smith and Niklas Kronwall to lower-body injuries during the second period, leaving the Red Wings with four healthy defensemen in the third. Smith, who had an apparent goal taken off the board after a video review earlier in the second, appeared to get hurt in a collision with Anaheim’s Cam Fowler.
Detroit went 0 for 3 with the man advantage. The Red Wings’ power play also struggles at home, but it hasn’t scored on the road since Oct. 19.
“I don’t know how many shots we had on goal, but it’s not enough,” defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said. “Too much on the outside. We’ve got to find a way to get the puck to the net and have some people in front of the net.”
The Red Wings got their third power play with 5:25 left in regulation, but came up empty. Moments later, Vermette deftly used his skate to redirect a puck to Kase for the rookie’s third goal of the season.
“Not good enough,” Blashill said. “We’re throwing pucks away for no reason. What’s happened has happened. Doesn’t mean it has to continue that way. … (The power play) has got to be better. We know it. We’re going to work at it. Our power play is going to be better, that much I guarantee.”
Ritchie opened the scoring on a rebound in front of Mrazek, banging it home for his ninth goal of the season.
NOTES: Red Wings C Andreas Athanasiou was a healthy scratch. He has one goal in 10 games since returning from injury. … Ducks D Brandon Montour was back in the lineup for the third game of his NHL career. … Ducks forward Chris Wagner returned from the AHL and played with Anaheim for the first time since Dec. 1.
Red Wings: At the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.
Ducks: Host the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.
© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.