Best: Winning the Possession Battle
Not many things turned out positive for the Ducks tonight, but they can head to Buffalo knowing that they carried the puck more than their last opponent. Anaheim fired 83 shots toward Henrik Lundqvist compared to New York’s total of 40. Those 83 attempts turned into 44 shots on net. The main issue was that the Ducks were shooting from the perimeter rather than from high percentage scoring areas.
Worst: The Power Play
Anaheim’s power play continues to struggle after being number 1 in the league only a year ago. The extra man unit had four opportunities including a four-minute chance after a Brady Skjei High Stick. The creativity that makes a power play so dangerous has completely vanished. The Ducks forwards seem content to stand still in their assigned slots and wait for the defensemen to skate to open ice. Even though the NHL is a copycat league, Anaheim seems intent on doing things their own way.
Best: Limiting Shots
The Ducks defense only gave up 20 shots on goal. The two previous games on the road trip Anaheim has given up 37 both times. This is good. Carlyle’s experiment of putting Lindholm and Montour together in addition to Theodore and Manson seemed to pay off immediately.
Worst: Defensive Zone Coverage/Scoring Chances Against
This is what doomed the Ducks tonight. Every goal on Gibson was a result of a breakdown in the defensive zone. This is becoming all too common for the team this season. Is the system too difficult to play in? Is Carlyle too slow to adapt to a modern style of defense? Whatever it is, it is not clicking with the players this year.
Honorable Mention: The Bieksa and Fowler Pairing
This needs to be shot into the sun and never tried again.
3. John Gibson
2. Michael Grabner
1. Henrik Lundqvist- He is the King for a reason.