ANAHEIM, Calif.—On a night when one of the Anaheim Ducks most popular players set a franchise record, it was who everyone hopes will be one of its future stars that helped snap an eight-game losing streak.
Rookie Leo Carlsson had a goal and an assist and added the shootout winner in the Ducks’ 4–3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night, Dec. 2.
John Gibson, who played in his 448th game and surpassed Jean-Sebastien Giguere for most games played by a goaltender in Ducks history, stopped 34 shots and all three in the shootout.
“Obviously, being on that losing streak, we had to get out of it sooner or later and we needed everybody to step up and we did. We found a way,” Gibson said.
Colorado has dropped two straight, but might have a bigger worries. Defenseman Cale Makar, the NHL’s Player of the Month for November, missed the final three minutes of regulation and did not play in overtime.
Coach Jared Bednar said after the game that Makar is “dealing with something, so he wasn’t able to go.”
Makar had a league-high 21 assists and ranked second with 25 points in November, franchise records for a defenseman in a single month.
Anaheim’s win meant it didn’t tie its franchise record for consecutive losses and also provided a sense of relief for a young locker room and first-year coach Greg Cronin.
“It grates on you. You can spin it all you want about the process and the measurables that we look at that reflect the quality of your game, but you keep losing you just feel it,” Cronin said. “Tonight we stayed with it and we were rewarded with a win.”
Carlsson, the second overall pick in June’s draft, skated in and deked Colorado goalie Ivan Prosvetov to have a clear shot at the net for the only goal in the shootout round.
“I kind of lost the puck there, so I was nervous for a second. After that, I knew that I had him so it was good shot,” said Carlsson, who has seven goals. That is second among rookies and four behind Chicago’s Connor Bedard.
Anaheim’s Alex Killorn scored his 200th career goal and became the second player selected in the third round or later of the 2007 draft to reach that milestone. Kilorn also had an assist for his second multipoint game of the season.
Adam Henrique also scored for the Ducks.
Bowen Byram had a pair of first-period goals for Colorado. Devon Toews had a goal and Prosvetov made 34 saves.
Valeri Nichushkin had his point streak snapped at nine games.
“I thought it was a highly competitive hockey game. It felt like they owned portions of the game, and then I felt like we owned some portions of the game myself,” Bednar said. “Once you get to a shootout it’s kind of like flip a coin.”
Colorado quickly jumped out on a pair of goals by Byram in the first nine minutes. He scored from the high slot on a 3–on–2 rush 36 seconds into the game and then put a 82 mph snap shot past Gibson at 8:59 to finish off a 2–on–1.
Anaheim got to 2–1 when Henrique tipped in Ryan Strome’s pass on the power play but Colorado took a two-goal lead into the first intermission when Toews wired a snap shot past Gibson’s glove and into the far side of the net with 43 seconds remaining.
The Ducks got back within a goal at 2:58 of the second when Carlsson beat Prosvetov with a high shot in front of the net.
Killorn tied it 3–3 at 10:22 on a snap shot from the right faceoff circle for Anaheim’s second power-play goal.
Anaheim center Mason McTavish suffered an upper-body injury during the first period and did not return.