With points at a premium, the Ducks failed to earn any against the Islanders. Frederik Andersen was pulled after the first period and Ryan Getzlaf was demoted to the second line. Even though the team is at the bottom of the standings they are still close in the race for a playoff spot in the equally terrible Pacific Division, but hope for a turnaround is dwindling after another lopsided road loss.
Best: Carl Hagelin
Carl Hagelin was easily the best forward on the ice tonight. He scored the opening goal and was active in the offensive end the entire night. Unfortunately he was the only forward that stood out offensively. The rest of the team did not consistently pressure the Islanders while on the attack.
Worst: Collapsing in the First Period
The Ducks looked shocked and confused after giving up the tying goal. After that the period was dominated by the Islanders, and they eventually took a 3-1 lead by the end of the period. The defense fell apart and Kevin Bieksa looked particularly bad on the first goal against. Sami Vatanen wasn't in great position on the third goal, and Frederik Andersen struggled to make key stops.
Best: Josh Manson
While being taken off the ice for fighting hindered the team a bit, Manson made up for it in the third period with a goal that made it 3-2. It energized the team a bit and it was nice to see him finally get rewarded. His partnering with Hampus Lindholm was the best group of defenseman for the Ducks.
Worst: Where Do They Go From Here?
Even with Clayton Stoner off the ice, the Ducks are struggling defensively. Even if the Ducks had a healthy Simon Despres to replace Bieksa I still don't think it would help the Ducks on offense. The lines have't worked, and Getzlaf has really struggled this season. One empty net goal 30 games in is horrible. Bruce doesn't seem to be motivating the team enough to win, but is there a better option out there? At this point the Ducks could try to make a trade, but that would likely involve losing a quality defenseman, prospect or high draft pick. Tanking for Auston Matthews would be an embarrassment to the organization after such high expectations. General Manager Bob Murray has to take a lot of the blame for the lack of chemistry on the ice since his offseason moves haven't panned out. The worst part about the last few games is that the Ducks are going nowhere, and fast.
3) Josh Manson
Manson was one of the bright spots for the Ducks tonight. He had his first NHL fight (regular season) and scored a goal that at least gave the Ducks some life in the third period. He's been a reliable defenseman alongside Hampus Lindholm and proved so again in this game.
2) John Gibson
Gibson came into the game to start the second period and only gave up one goal. That goal was one he had no real chance on since the puck deflected off a poor pass and right to the wide open slot. With a good performance against the New York Rangers tomorrow, he can make it difficult for Andersen to take back the No.1 goaltending spot.
1) Carl Hagelin
Carl Hagelin worked hard for his goal tonight. He cycled well with Kesler and Cogliano and was the most noticeable forward for the Ducks. It seems that when one player has a great game, the rest are having terrible ones. Because of this Hagelin seemed like the only forward who was effective tonight. His speed showed on the rush and helped him cycle out to the front of the net for the opening goal.