Best: John Gibson’s performance in the 2nd half
John Gibson looked a bit shaky in the first half of the game. He seemed to resemble a bit of a flailing fish, flopping around the goal to make saves. It was so much so that Carlyle ended up actually pulling him for a few minutes after letting in the Flyers’ 3rd (and game-tying) goal before putting him back in.
On pulling Gibson, Carlyle said this after the game:
“The whole idea was to use it as a timeout. I told Bernier he was only going in until the [TV] timeout. Give us three minutes. You couldn't fault [Gibson] on the goals because it was poor defensive-zone coverage from our perspective. But, winning in the NHL isn't easy and we'll take a win.”
Well it certainly seemed like the timeout helped. Gibson went on to make some game-saving saves, ultimately tying the franchising record for most saves in a regular season game with 51 saves and achieving a career high in shots faced at 54. Additionally, Gibson was 4-of-5 in the shootout.
Best: Ryan Kesler
Since the Anaheim Ducks just couldn’t muster up anything on the forecheck, Ryan Kesler being the workhorse that he is, decided to single-handedly take on the Flyers by doing the following:
Goal #1 (courtesy of a great feed by Korbinian Holzer)
Goal #3 for the hat trick (cue “All by Myself”):
This marked his 4th career hatty.
Now let’s get onto the real bad stuff. Pardon the sarcasm—this game was just so painful for me to watch.
Worst: This game was just painful to watch.
This game was just plain awful. I hate being so negative, but this game not only took 5 years off of my life, but it also gave me a massive headache, sore throat, and the desire to scrap my New Years Resolution of eating healthy for a pint of some Ben & Jerry’s Red Velvet Cheesecake Ice Cream. On top of all this, I had a Flyers fan screaming in my ear the entire game and professing his love for his boy-crush Gudas.
From the Ducks giving the Flyers chances to instantly come back and tie up the game, to the missed stretch passes, to the inability to clear the crease, to Randy Carlyle’s choice to have Cam Fowler take the third shootout attempt....oh, and penalties, penalties, and penalties.
I don’t know what to even make of this game.
What I can tell you is that Anaheim is facing a load of bad habits and problems. And they are now entering the second half of the season—clinging to a playoff spot.
Worst: Ryan Getzlaf out.
Ryan Getzlaf did not have a good night. Not only did he have a couple of giveaways (thanks to just pure carelessness), but he also left the ice halfway through the game. He sustained a lower-body injury and did not return.
I did see some jokes flying around Twitter that it was a good thing he wasn’t playing in the 3-on-3 OT, because we all know those no-look drop-passes to the other team are his thing.
Worst: Defense is just pure sh**.
Oh Randy Carlyle...is our absolute abysmal backcheck and zone exits a symptom of your notoriously sh**ty defensive approach? I’m going to say yes. Because for the most part, while the roster has moved around a bit since last season, it really isn’t enough for this kind of lack of defensive play. Either the blue line corps forgot everything that they learned last season, or something has changed in the defensive approach. I’m going to go with the latter since we are not watching goldfish on the ice, but rather players that at the same time last year prided themselves for shutdown defense.
It’s just such terrible zone coverage up and down the ice. Add that on top of the inability to clear the front of the net.... It is not pretty. (Josh Manson—I am watching you.)
Worst: What offense? (See SOG differential)
55-25 SOG—the Ducks being the latter. That’s pretty bad. With players like Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Jakob Silfverberg, we shouldn’t be seeing those kind of numbers.
This is not the first time we are seeing the Ducks being limited to such low numbers this season. If you recall a week back, Anaheim also saw one of its most embarrassing performances in Montreal. This is a really concerning issue that is also tied to the aforementioned issue of defense. Obviously the lack of backcheck is limiting the Ducks’ ability to get puck possession and enter the offensive zone.
The Ducks may have pulled off a win last night, but it’s just not sustainable.
Best/Worst: OT/SO Win
It certainly wasn’t pretty. But somehow, the Ducks managed to pull of a win. Corey Perry, who has been just snakebitten all season long, managed to pull a beauty past Steve Mason, who was beginning to resemble a wall. So there you go—the Ducks managed to survive the 3-on-3 OT and break what seemed like an OT curse. And on top of that, have Corey Perry score the winning SO goal. Let’s all cross our fingers and hope this new year will turn around Perry’s luck.
You all showed up like superstars and made the Ducks look terrible on home ice. Unlike the Ducks, y’all must have missed the New Years Eve celebrations and got a full night’s rest.
2. John Gibson
I’ll hand it to you Gibby. You definitely saved the game. A couple of times in the second half. Plus the shootout.
1. Ryan Kesler
Goal+Goal+Goal=Hatty. Kesler, you really are boss.