On a rainy, drought-quenching night in Anaheim, the Ducks put together an all-around strong team performance backed by a John Gibson shutout for a 2-0 victory.
The Ducks began the game seemingly aware of the defensive issues plaguing the team lately (wait they’re just now noticing it?).
While the Stars have left a lot to be desired in the offensive department compared to last season and with their captain Jamie Benn out with a foot injury, the Ducks cleaned up their back end play and did a good job limiting Dallas’s scoring chances.
Anaheim generated some sustained pressure from the Ryan Kesler line (surprise) to create some good scoring chances, but Stars goaltender Antti Niemi held strong has he did in the teams’ previous matchup.
Pond hockey was the theme for a good portion of the 2nd period as the Stars and Ducks exchanged consecutive rushes back and forth on the ice multiple times.
While the Ducks had been 0-14 headed into the game with the man advantage, the Stars seemed intent on testing that stat. On the 3rd power play of the game for the Ducks, Jakob Silfverberg buried a rebound in the slot off a shot by Corey Perry, ending the man advantage skid at 16 chances without a goal.
The Ducks would continue their control of the game on particularly effective play by the Ritchie-Vermette-Kase line but Niemi continued to disregard the supposed Dallas goaltender narrative with several high-quality stops. Luckily Gibson matched him with several great saves of his own as the 23 year old continued his stellar play from the last several games.
The Ducks turned it up in the final frame having outshot the Stars 16-6 in the 2nd period. They would dominate play for the remainder of the game while Niemi bailed out his weary defense shift after shift including a highlight-reel save on Silfverberg and Andrew Cogliano.
Anaheim would finally break through and make it 2-0 with just over five minutes left on a goal by Cogliano off a great pass from Silfverberg, who had one of his best overall games this season.
The Ducks would make things interesting in the waning minutes of the game as noted telephone poll Kevin Bieksa high-sticked Tyler Seguin to give the Stars a 6 on 4 advantage after pulling Niemi for the extra attacker. Nothing came of the advantage, however, as the Ducks recently revitalized penalty kill took care of the Stars chances with relative ease.
John Gibson earned his second shutout in the past week and third on the season bringing his career goose-eggs to 9.
With the win, the Ducks moved into sole possession of 1st place in the Pacific division, though the 2nd place San Jose Sharks have two games in hand.
The team will now head on a brief road trip to Colorado on Thursday and Arizona on Saturday before coming home Sunday to face the St. Louis Blues.