The Anaheim Ducks found a way to hang on and get the 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, and now they must turn their attention toward one of the most important road trips of the season. The road trip will feature teams like the St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals, and Pittsburgh Penguins. While five of the six teams that they will play on this road trip are in the Eastern Conference, this is a pivotal time in the season. And with the Ducks on the road to recovery where injuries are concerned, coming out of these six games with enough points to once again stay afloat has to be the main goal.
One of the biggest concerns for the Ducks as they depart on this road trip will be the status of Corey Perry, who sustained a pretty nasty looking knee injury midway through the first period. He left the game and did not return, and was instead transported to a hospital to have the leg evaluated.
Doesn't sound great as far as Corey Perry for now. RC was vague, saying he's "in an evaluation process" of lower-body injury at a local hospital. Did tell me that he did not suffer a skate cut.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) December 12, 2017
Before we get too deep into the impending road trip, let’s take another look back at the John Gibson show that took place at the Honda Center on Monday night. The Ducks looked to be driving the pace through the first ten minutes or so of the 3rd period with their 3-1 lead, but then immediately decided that they wanted to see John Gibson on SportsCenter and shut down.
Gibson made three spectacular saves in a matter of about five minutes to keep the Ducks lead intact, and even after conceding once with two and a half minutes to go in regulation, he stood strong for the remainder of the game to ensure that the Ducks left the building with the two points. It was a very important win for Anaheim and could not have come at a better time for a Ducks team that was 2-4-4 in their previous ten before this game.
Best & Worst
John Gibson - Need I say more? The guy was an absolute beast yet again for the Ducks in net, and as much as that is becoming a repeatable story, it never gets old to talk about him. It seems like his saves come at the best times, and they always seem to be of the variety that get even the official NHL Twitter account to tweet things like this:
Logan Shaw - Logan didn’t really stand out too much in the game outside of the fact that he finished with a goal and an assist, so he certainly made his impact with the minutes he was given. Hopefully he can continue to make offensive contributions on a more consistent basis and potentially work his way into a position where he can be given more ice time.
Penalty Kill - The Carolina Hurricanes went 0/3 on the power play, and the credit for that can be split pretty evenly between the Ducks penalty kill and John Gibson. As John Ahlers loves to mention, your goaltender needs to be your best penalty killer, and that was indeed the case for the Ducks on a few occasions against Carolina. In any case, a perfect night for the penalty kill is a successful special teams night in my eyes.
Turtle Defense - The Ducks once again sat back on a lead late in the game and it almost resulted in them blowing another lead and forcing themselves into an overtime situation. The Ducks need to start finding ways to close out games more effectively and more definitively; otherwise, they may start seeing more points slip out of their hands late in the season.
Power Play - While the penalty kill had a solid night, the power play looked less exciting. They had a couple good looks here and there over their two opportunities, but with Captain McCaptainFace back in the lineup and his passing presence back on the ice, I suppose I had higher hopes for more second or third chances on shots that went to the front of the net.
Corey Perry’s Injury - The last thing the Ducks need right now is a new name to add to the injury list, even with a couple of their better players returning to the lineup. Here’s to hoping that the injury is short-lived and that Corey can work his way back into the lineup sooner rather than later.
3 Stars of the Game
3. Andy Welinski - Getting on the scoresheet in your first NHL game ever without making a dumb mistake is something to be proud of. Not too shabby Andy
2. Logan Shaw - A goal and an assist are normally enough for the #1 star in a 3-2 victory, but I think we all know who deserves the top spot for this game.
1. John Gibson - I can’t say enough about how much this guy has done for the Ducks so far this season, and this game was no different. The man is a Vezina-caliber goaltender and I am not sure I can think of another goalie in the NHL that deserves it more at this stage of the season.
And as always, John Gibson remains focused and calm.
How many points do the Ducks get out of a possible 12 from this 6-game road trip?
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