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Ducks vs. Bruins: MORNING THOUGHTS

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Being outshot is fine if they don’t go in the net.

NHL: Boston Bruins at Anaheim Ducks Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

If you had to judge the Ducks level of success against the Bruins based upon shots on goal, then you would have to assume that Anaheim was dealt another hefty loss. But then you would remember that the only shots that matter are the ones that actually go in and that would mean they would have to make it past the human brick wall that goes by the name John Gibson. Although heavily outshot, the Ducks made their’s count giving them their second victory in their last seven games. Overall the Ducks were outshot 42-27 and Gibson was his usual amazing self stopping 40 shots in total. He again has been the saving grace for a team that is just trying to stay afloat in the Western Conference while they wait for their stars to return from injury. Gibson was in the zone from the beginning of the game, but he really shined in the 2nd period when the Ducks were completely outplayed and outshot 15-3. In fact, Boston controlled that period with so much ease that the game easily could have been 4-2 in Boston’s favor. The fact that Boston was only able to get a single goal by Gibson in that frame was a true testament to the level of play he has performed at this season. He made several key stops throughout the game, but none were as beautiful as the glove save he made on Riley Nash.

While Gibson was stealing the show, the Ducks were able to yet again get a goal from an unlikely contributor. To open the scoring for Anaheim, Kevin Roy would find the back of the net in the first period, giving him his first goal as a Duck and his first goal in his NHL career. When asked about his first ever goal this what Roy had to say:

“When you get that first goal, you don't really know what to do. It’s pretty special. I just enjoyed the moment, really. You just try to swing at it and I was lucky enough to get a hold of it and it ended up in the back of the net.”

While the Ducks entered the second period with a one goal lead, they did everything possible to squander it. They played most of their time within their own zone desperately trying to survive while Gibson stood on his head. In fact, they were outshot 14-1 until Corey Perry maneuvered into the offensive zone drawing a delayed penalty on Zdeno Chara. Both Perry and Chara would look to the ref for the call while an alert Josh Manson would recover the puck and throw it off Chara’s skate and into the net for his first goal of the season. The Ducks would strike again late in the second when Antoine Vermette, who was playing his 1,000 career NHL game, would find Nick Ritchie who would in turn find the back of the net. 3 shots in the period for the Ducks and 2 goals. Not a bad success rate.

The Ducks carried that momentum into the third and Perry got things started again with a beautiful steal and shot on net in which Derek Grant got the deflection to give him his 4th goal of the season and a 4-2 victory over the Bruins. It was just another unexpected offensive production from unlikely sources. With Roy and Mason both scoring their first goals this season, the Ducks now have 21 players to register at least one goal this season. That is huge for a team who has been handcuffed by injuries. In fact Sami Vatanen was another added to that injury list as he wasn’t able to start the game due to a lower-body injury, although it has been said by Randy Carlyle that he is expected to play on Sunday. Corey Perry took a nasty spill in the third period in which he seemed destined to join his friends on the injury list, however he was able to return to the ice minutes later. With so many unfortunate injuries to this years squad, it has been great to see younger players taking advantage of opportunities and contributing. This is what Josh Manson had to say about the current state of the Ducks’ roster:

"You're always desperate for wins in this league. We're banged up right now. We have a lot of injuries. We're trying to get through it and come out on the good side."

Perry also had this to say in regards to how he felt and his play and the Ducks play in the second period:

Best and Worst

BEST - There were several positive things to take away from this game. First and most importantly is Gibson’s play. With both the defense and offense short-handed, he has been leaned on to really keep the Ducks in games. Not only has he been able to rise to the challenge, but he has also stolen some periods away for the team just as he did last night. Another positive was depth scoring again for the Ducks. With so many lineup changes due to injuries, it’s nice to see the younger players building chemistry and confidence which is translating into points. If the Ducks can continue to weather the injury storm and Gibson can keep them close in games, Anaheim should be in an ok position to make a playoff push once the team gets healthy. Another positive would be the discipline of the team. It wasn’t until late in the third period that Anaheim was called for their first penalty. Overall the team only had two penalties and their PK unit shined when needed. For a team that has led the league in penalty minutes per game for most of the season, it was nice to see them remain in control of their emotions and not take untimely or unnecessary penalties. Considering the group of mostly young inexperienced players were on the ice for both teams, it was great to see players making smart decisions. This will be key moving forward for the Ducks as they will need to limit being short-handed if they are to have a chance at stealing some wins.

WORST - Unfortunately for the Ducks, NHL games are 60 minutes long. Too many times this season the Ducks have only played a solid 20-40 minutes of hockey or sometimes only 5-10 minutes. For this team to have success this season, they need to play a complete game from start to finish. Although they won tonight, their second period effort was terrible. It’s understandable to a degree with so many key players missing, but Anaheim will need to find a way to generate energy when things aren’t going in their favor. Too many times they were caught deep in their own zone resulting in too many shots against and forcing Anaheim to dump in the puck to get line changes. They will need their veterans to step up during these lulls.

Milestones:

Vermette reached his 1,000 NHL game played. A great article from Eric Stephens of this tremendous accomplishment can be read below:

Three Stars of the Game:

3. Corey Perry ( 2 Assists )

2. Josh Manson ( 1 Goal, 1 Assist )

1. John Gibson ( 40 Saves )

The Ducks will return to action on Sunday when the host the Florida Panthers at Honda Center.