An alumni update.
During the 2013-14 season, John Gibson and Devante Smith-Pelly were roommates while they played for the Admirals. Gibson’s play bolstered Norfolk to the playoffs while Smith-Pelly had his most successful season as a pro, leading the club in goal scoring. After solid performances in the playoffs for the Ducks, much was expected from them in the 2013-14 season.
John Gibson got off to a rocky start. He gave up six goals to his hometown Pittsburgh Penguins before getting work in with the Admirals. He followed that up with a solid win by stopping 16 of 17 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Devante Smith-Pelly’s season has been similarly up-and-down. DSP’s been on the Getzlaf-Perry line, the Kesler line, and everywhere else. Before Tuesday night, he did have 2+2=4 points.
After a deflating loss to the Sharks, Anaheim wanted to get back on the winning side. Chicago would prove to be a formidable opponent. The Blackhawks were Western Conference finalists a year ago and not quite 2 seasons removed from a Stanley Cup. Anaheim got to face longtime pro yet NHL rookie Scott Darling in net and put John Gibson between their own pipes.
The game was an up-and-down affair with little notable action. Mark Fistric, drawing in for the injured Ben Lovejoy, did have a monster hit on Michal Roszival. One mistake would determine the game’s winner. On a third period penalty to Sami Vatanen, the Ducks went shorthanded. Blackhawks defenseman (and 3-game Admirals alum) Brent Seabrook lost an edge and could not keep a puck in play. Devo found the loose puck for a shorthanded breakaway and put it past Scott Darling. It would be the only goal of the night.
Chicago outplayed the Ducks in the third period. Gibson’s stellar night in goal-38 saves-cemented the win for Anaheim. Tuesday night, against a top opponent on the road, Gibson demonstrated why he is often hailed as the number one goalie prospect. He has not taken the reigns from another Admiral, Frederik Andersen, as the number one goalie for the Ducks. Gibson has given Bruce Boudreau and the coaching staff more confidence.
DSP and John Gibson–the roommates–had a fantastic season last year with Norfolk. Can they repeat it in the NHL?
william karlsson was a healthy scratch tonight for anaheim as dany heatley made his debut…josh manson also a healthy scratch…
John Gibson and Devante Smith-Pelly stats from www.hockey-reference.com