It was great to see the team so focused on defensive zone play after getting completely dominated by the Flyers. It was even better to see them actually practice what they preached. Gibson was able to see pucks and had little trouble stopping every shot that came in his direction. The young goalie picked up his eighth career shutout. Gibson even had the confidence to try and take a shot at Detroit’s empty net when Petr Mrazek went off for an extra attacker. Too bad he already has a hard time getting the puck up high on the glass. Maybe Frederik Andersen can give him some pointers in the offseason.
Worst: Breakout Passes
If there is one thing the Ducks still need to work on it’s their passing. Anaheim had an enormous amount of trouble connecting on their breakout passes in both the defensive and neutral zones. It’s hard to say if this was due to a poor effort or the Detroit system, but it needs to be cleaned up against a better offensive team. The Ducks were lucky to not see a turnover result in a goal.
Best: The Third Line
Depth scoring! Yeah, it’s still a thing. The third line was the only trio to get on the score sheet tonight. In the first, the group took advantage of a botched icing call and turnover, which led to a Nick Ritchie rebound goal. They followed with a beautiful, soccer-style goal to seal the deal in the third. The best part for me has to be Kase’s reaction to scoring goals. The kid always looks like he just stepped out of a Toys R Us (pre-bankruptcy). Hopefully they can keep up the scoring chances as time goes on.
Worst: Hayward Knocking Analytics
In a rather awkward exchange with Ahlers at the end of the first period, Hayward brought up analytics. As you could imagine things got uncomfortable. He somehow correctly pointed out that Detroit outplayed Anaheim in the first half of the period and then surrendered play to the home team. True. This then turned into saying fancy stats people would be critical of the period even though the Ducks were winning. What? The Ducks won the possession battle and that’s what us nerds like to see. The weirdest part was hearing Hayward give an accurate assessment of the period.
Honorable Mention (aka the best): Beating the Red Wings
It may not be the rivalry that it once was, but whenever the Ducks are able to take two points from Detroit it’s a good night.
3) Antoine Vermette
2) John Gibson
1) Ondrej Kase