NEW YORK (AP)—Anaheim coach Mike Babcock insists there is no goalie controversy brewing for the Mighty Ducks.
There is no denying that the Western Conference champions have one fine backup.
“The best player in the game was Gerber, no doubt about it,” Babcock said.
Gerber, playing his second straight game in place of struggling goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, fell just short of his second shutout of the season when Alex Kovalev scored with 3:51 left.
“I didn’t expect to start here, but this is a great honor, the confidence the coaches trust in me,” Gerber said.
It was the second consecutive start for Gerber over Giguere, the MVP of last season’s playoffs. Babcock said after the game that Gerber will start again Wednesday at Washington.
“Let’s not kid ourselves, there’s no controversy here,” Babcock said. “Gerbs is hot and Jiggy’s trying to get his game back so Gerbs is going to run with it for a bit. We’re real fortunate that we’ve got unbelievable goaltending.”
When told of his next assignment by reporters, Gerber responded with: “Really?”
Gerber (2-1-1) has allowed only five goals this season in four games, while Giguere has yielded 19 in six games. Since opening 0-4, Anaheim is 3-1-1-1.
“We haven’t done anything really, just finally proved to ourselves we can play and play well,” Fedorov said. “We have to work on the next step, being consistent and be like that every night.”
The Rangers lost for the first time this season at Madison Square Garden in the fifth game of a six-game homestand. As good as they looked in a 3-1 win Saturday over Detroit, that’s how inept this performance was.
“We got down two goals … and we didn’t stay methodical,” Rangers forward Bobby Holik said. “We didn’t keep playing the way we need to play to win.”
New York went 0-for-4 on the power play, falling to 0-for-30 this season. The Rangers are the only NHL club without a man-advantage goal.
Anaheim entered with the third-worst power-play unit in the league, but connected twice on its first three chances against the Rangers, who had killed 22 of 23 penalties on the homestand.
“It’s frustrating. The chances are there,” said Petr Nedved, who assisted on Kovalev’s goal. “We’re hitting posts. We’ve got to keep working on it and keep shooting. Sooner or later something is going to go in.
“It’s frustrating because special teams, they win or lose you games. Our PK, other than tonight, has been great, but our power play has been horrible.”
Seconds after Anaheim’s Stanislav Chistov was leveled by Holik, the Mighty Ducks forward got up in the corner and moved the puck to Fedorov at the left point. He slid a pass to the right point for Havelid, who sent a shot through traffic that beat Mike Dunham at 14:42 of the first period and gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead.
It became a three-goal advantage during a second-period power play when Fedorov’s shot from above the left circle was deflected in by Niedermayer at 9:34.
Ozolinsh gave Anaheim a 1-0 lead at 9:51 of the first when his shot beatDunham, who was screened. Samuel Pahlsson earned an assist.
Gerber, in his second NHL season, has eight career wins. … Dunham allowed only four goals in the first four games of the homestand. … Kovalev scored his first goal of the season, one day after injuring his knee in practice. … Ducks rookie Joffrey Lupul, who assisted on Ozolinsh’s goal, has points in four of his last five games. … Rangers C Pascal Rheaume sprained a ligament in his left knee and will be out two to four weeks. New York recalledC Chad Wiseman from Hartford of the AHL.