Ducks edge Rangers for first regulation win of season

Ducks goaltender John Gibson makes a save against the New York Rangers’ Kaapo Kakko during the second period on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Ducks’ Troy Terry, left, vies for the puck against the New York Rangers’ Braden Schneider during the first period on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Ducks goaltender John Gibson keeps his eyes on the puck during the first period of their game against the New York Rangers on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers’ Julien Gauthier, left, skates for the puck as the Ducks’ John Klingberg falls to the ice during the first period on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

New York Rangers goaltender Jaroslav Halak defends the net during the first period of their game against the Ducks on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Ducks’ Trevor Zegras chases the puck during the first period of their game against the New York Rangers on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The New York Rangers’ Zac Jones moves the puck past the Ducks’ Mason McTavish during the first period on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The New York Rangers’ Barclay Goodrow scores a goal past Ducks goaltender John Gibson during the first period on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers’ Barclay Goodrow celebrates after scoring a goal during the first period of their game against the Ducks on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Fans cheer as New York Rangers players celebrate a goal by Barclay Goodrow during the first period of their game against the Ducks on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

From left, the New York Rangers’ K’Andre Miller, Barclay Goodrow, Julien Gauthier and Ryan Carpenter celebrate a goal by Goodrow during the first period of their game against the Ducks on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers’ Barclay Goodrow, left, celebrates his goal with teammates as he skates back to the bench during the first period of their game against the Ducks on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Ducks’ Mason McTavish, left, celebrates after scoring against the New York Rangers during the first period on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Ducks’ Mason McTavish celebrates after scoring a goal against the New York Rangers during the first period on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Ducks’ Mason McTavish celebrates after scoring a goal against the New York Rangers during the first period on Wednesday night at Honda Center. The Ducks prevailed, 3-2, for their first regulation win of the season. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Ducks’ Mason McTavish celebrates his goal as he skates back to the bench during the first period of their game against the New York Rangers on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Ducks’ Frank Vatrano, left, is shoved by the New York Rangers’ K’Andre Miller during the first period on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Ducks goaltender John Gibson protects the near post during the first period of their game against the New York Rangers on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers’ Jacob Trouba, left, and the Ducks’ Ryan Strome battle for the puck during the first period on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

New York Rangers goaltender Jaroslav Halak makes a save against the Ducks’ Adam Henrique (14) during the first period on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Ducks’ Troy Terry, left, celebrates a goal with Cam Fowler during the second period of their game against the New York Rangers on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers’ Ryan Lindgren, right, skates the puck against the Ducks’ Cam Fowler during the first period on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Ducks’ Jakob Silfverberg skates the puck as New York Rangers goaltender Jaroslav Halak protects his net during the second period on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers’ Alexis Lafreniere shoots during the second period of their game against the Ducks on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Ducks celebrate a goal by Troy Terry as the New York Rangers’ Barclay Goodrow skates past during the second period on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Ducks celebrate a goal during the second period of their game against the New York Rangers on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers’ Filip Chytil (72) moves the puck as the Ducks’ Max Jones, right, defends during the second period on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The New York Rangers’ Alexis Lafreniere, right, loses his balance as he reaches for the puck while under pressure from the Ducks’ Troy Terry during the second period on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Ducks goaltender John Gibson stops a shot by the New York Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad during the second period on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

New York Rangers goaltender Jaroslav Halak defends his net during the second period of their game against the Ducks on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers’ Braden Schneider skates toward his team’s bench after scoring a goal during the second period of their game against the Ducks on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Ducks’ Jakob Silfverberg, right, and the New York Rangers’ Adam Fox chase the puck during the third period on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Ducks’ Troy Terry, left, moves the puck past the New York Rangers’ fallen Vincent Trocheck during the third period on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The New York Rangers’ Artemi Panarin, left, skates the puck against the Ducks’ Jakob Silfverberg during the third period on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Ducks’ Isac Lundestrom, bottom, is defended by the New York Rangers’ K’Andre Miller during the third period on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Ducks goaltender John Gibson protects the near post during the third period of their game against the New York Rangers on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Ducks goaltender John Gibson, right, celebrates with Jakob Silfverberg after their 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers’ Barclay Goodrow (21) and Sammy Blais (91) leave the ice after their 3-2 loss to the Ducks on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Ducks celebrate their 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Ducks listen to the national anthem before their game against the New York Rangers on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

A general view of play between the Ducks and the New York Rangers during the second period on Wednesday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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ANAHEIM — Forty-two days after the Ducks started their NHL regular season, they finally won a game in regulation.

The result: Ducks 3, New York Rangers 2, on Wednesday night at Honda Center. They had played 19 games without a win in regulation, one short of the league record to begin a season. In 2017, the Arizona Coyotes became the first team in NHL history to go 20 games into the season without a win in regulation.

“We found a way to win a hockey game,” said Ducks goaltender John Gibson, who made 41 saves. “It seems like, before, we were shooting ourselves in the foot maybe a little bit and finding ways to lose. … We all had to dig in and find a way to win a hockey game.”

Said Ducks forward Troy Terry, who had the game-winning goal: “To get a result for this team, especially in regulation, was really big for this group. We still have a lot of hockey left and we need to start building on it.”

Of course, it wasn’t surprising Gibson was front and center and kept the Ducks in it and held on when the Rangers made a big push, outshooting the Ducks 17-2 in the third period.

“John Gibson is one of the most competitive players I’ve ever coached or played with,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “He is as competitive as they get. I know he takes great pride in his game and takes even more pride in being able to steal them.

“He expects that of himself. … The way that our season’s gone early, I know it wears on him because of his competitiveness. But for him to come in and deliver for his teammates and our organization like he did tonight – it’s huge.”

Said Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler: “He was our best player and most nights he is. Doesn’t get enough credit for how good a goaltender he is. But he’s top-notch and showed it again tonight.”

One element of surprise was that Ducks defenseman Dmitry Kulikov was a meaningful source of offense, scoring the go-ahead goal 39 seconds into the second period off a shot from the right-wing boards, making it 2-1. Earlier, he assisted on Mason McTavish’s first-period goal.

In between those efforts, Kulikov had to get stitched up after a shot from Rangers defenseman Adam Fox deflected off Kulikov’s stick and hit him in the face at 12:05 of the first period.

“It takes a lot of courage to come back and still continue to battle,” Fowler said. “(Kulikov) has done that for us all year.”

Kulikov had a strong game, at both ends. Afterward, in the dressing room, he said his face was starting to feel sore, saying: “The freezing wears off now. It (the puck) hit me above the teeth.”

Terry gave the Ducks a rare two-goal lead when he made it 3-1 at 5:25 of the second period, ripping a shot from the right circle, which went in off the post past Rangers goaltender Jaroslav Halak. It was his eighth goal of the season. That was the first time the Ducks held a two-goal lead in any game since they had a 2-0 lead against the New Jersey Devils on Oct. 17 before going on to lose, 4-2.

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But the Ducks gave one back late in the second period when Rangers defenseman Braden Schneider cut the lead to 3-2 at 18:06. It was the first time the Ducks have had a lead after two periods this season.

“We’ll take whatever we can get right now but having a lead going into the third is massive,” Eakins said.

Still, the Ducks’ unfamiliarity with holding a lead in the third showed.

“It was almost like we were waiting for something bad to happen,” Eakins said. “And we are very thankful Gibby was going to have none of that.”

With Halak pulled for an extra attacker, Terry had the chance at an empty-netter on an outnumbered attack but hit the crossbar with 44 seconds remaining.

So what was Eakins thinking?

“My first thought was that the other two guys that were on the three-on-one, with no goalie, were probably going to have something to say to him,” Eakins said. “Again, in my head, I’m like, ‘Man, our luck.’ We’ve had some incredible luck and not on the good side. At least we were able to close it out.”

Postgame thoughts from John Gibson after his 3rd game with 40+ saves this season! @AnaheimDucks | #FlyTogether | @AlysonLozoff pic.twitter.com/zHl3OrBkLq

— Bally Sports West (@BallySportWest) November 24, 2022

Dallas Eakins joins @AlysonLozoff & shares insight on tonight's W @AnaheimDucks | #FlyTogether pic.twitter.com/hZj0wHkHMs

McTavish ties it up quick! @AnaheimDucks | #FlyTogether pic.twitter.com/EcG1eKxPHR

Kulikov gets it through! The Ducks take the lead @AnaheimDucks | #FlyTogether pic.twitter.com/wpdTWdlYeK

Terry keeps it [email protected] | #FlyTogether pic.twitter.com/hVOhL7VVmP

Max Jones caught up with @AlysonLozoff postgame & spoke on tonight's W @AnaheimDucks | #FlyTogether pic.twitter.com/X7pY3hd48O