The Anaheim Ducks fell to the Maple Leafs by a final score of 3-1, but the score does not really give the Ducks the credit that I think they deserve. The offense generated plenty of scoring opportunities, and had it not been for a couple great saves from Frederik Andersen or shots that caught a lot of iron, the outcome of this game could have been vastly different.
Bottom line, however, are the words “could have”. There are a lot of things that could have gone better, and there are a lot of things that could have gone worse, but a 3-1 loss counts as zero points in the standings no matter which angle you view it.
The turnovers were an issue, and mishandling the puck along with making bad passes in the neutral zone is a guaranteed way to ensure you’ll be picking pucks out of the back of your net, especially against a young, speedy offense. Two of the three goals against the Anaheim Ducks were direct results of turnovers in or very near the neutral zone that sent the Leafs the other way on an odd-man rush.
“We can’t turn the puck over. We turned the puck over on the first goal of the game on an odd-man rush and then gave up two or three more and we can’t do that. That’s not going to have success for us for sure.” -Randy Carlyle, postgame.
Best & Worst:
Ondrej Kase - Seriously, this guy has been absolutely on fire this season. He looks confident, skates well, and creates scoring opportunities almost every time he is on the ice. His confidence has already potted him five goals on the year, and all of a sudden, my 30-goal prediction for Kase may not seem as crazy anymore. (Seriously, I predicted he would score 30). He doesn’t give the feeling of a goalscorer that would go hot and cold, but rather a consistent piece that the Ducks can rely on, hopefully for many years to come.
John Gibson - He continues to be stellar in net and continues to give the Ducks chances to remain in games that sometimes they don’t deserve to be in. There were a number of opportunities for the Maple Leafs that most likely would have been goals against a majority of goaltenders in the NHL. Yet Gibson seems to always find a way to keep pucks out of the net, and the Ducks owe him at least a few beers at this point in the season.
Hampus Lindholm - What else is there to say about Hampus? The man is a beast on both ends of the ice, and he seems to be getting better every day. With key injuries to the Ducks blue line, it’s very relieving to know that Lindholm is able to shoulder playing almost 25 minutes a game, and that the puck is in safe hands when it is on his stick. Eric Stephens puts it best:
Hampus Lindholm is doing everything from the back end. That's what left. Controlling not only the pace but the game.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) November 2, 2017
Turnovers: The turnovers and bad passes in the neutral zone have to stop. Nothing is more frustrating than watching a team build momentum for five to ten minutes, only for one dangerous pass up the middle of the ice to turn into a puck in the back of your net. Anaheim has to find ways to be smarter with the puck and limit the gifts that they’re giving out. The holiday season isn’t quite here yet. Having John Gibson in net certainly helps to alleviate some of the stress involved with these turnovers, but he is human after all [Editor’s Note: True, he isn’t Andersen- DK], and the more that the Ducks turn the puck over in bad areas, the more they will need to be playing catch up.
Special teams: The penalty kill looked decent, finishing at a perfect two for two, despite some very dangerous looking opportunities for the Maple Leafs. They survived and hung on, which is all you can really ask of a penalty kill unit. The power play, however, still has a lot to work on. After a decent road trip for the power play that saw the Ducks double their success percentage from six to twelve percent, the power play failed to find the back of the net on four opportunities against Toronto. Ducks players and fans are all aware by this point that man advantages do not come often for the Anaheim Ducks, and it is even more rare that they will be given more opportunities than their opponents. Such is life when you have players like Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler on your team, even if the latter is dressed as Big Bird during practice/injury recovery.
Luck: The Ducks hit three posts in the 2nd period alone against Toronto. At the time, the game was knotted at 1-1, and had any one of those shots deflected off the post and gone in, things would have looked much different. So what can be done about this? I would say to hope for better luck, but it looks like Hampus Lindholm has a different idea: be better at geometry, I suppose.
.@HampeLindholm: “We can’t be satisfied with scoring one goal. We need to go out and work to make sure those post-out (shots) go post-in.”— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) November 2, 2017
3 Stars of the Game:
3. John Gibson - He had a number of saves that kept the Ducks alive and in the game. The Maple Leafs had plenty of chances to open up the lead and run away with it, but Gibson continued his stellar season and shut the door repeatedly.
2. Patrick Marleau - Hard not to include the guy that potted the game winning goal early in the 3rd period at the age of 38. He added an assist on Leo Komarov’s empty netter and all around was a dangerous player all night.
1. Ondrej Kase - The Ducks may not have won this game, but Ondrej Kase continues to win the affection and attention of Ducks fans everywhere. His newly born confidence has turned him into a serious offensive threat on every shift, and it feels like this is definitely the makings of his breakout season in the NHL.
One last tweet to send you away with, if you’re a Toronto fan:
Leafs fans look away:— Anaheim Calling (@AnaheimCalling) November 2, 2017
Rakell, Gibson, Kase, and Manson were all taken with Toronto draft picks.
Sincerely, thanks guys. That’ll lead me to the poll for this game!
Which of the four Ducks drafted with Toronto picks was the biggest steal?
This poll is closed