Best: Corsi Your Heart Out
Anaheim, for the second game in a row, dominated possession at 5-on-5. The Ducks finished the game with 65% of the shot attempts at even strength. While it did not produce a win last night, continuing to play like this will bode well for them as this series continues.
Worst: Lack of Net-Front Presence
We were bombarded on Twitter last night with people wondering why Anaheim wasn’t sending more people to the front of the net to try and obstruct Talbot’s vision. For some reason, Anaheim didn’t figure this out until they scored their first (and only) goal. Silfverberg’s goal went in with Patrick Eaves blocking out the sun in front of Talbot. All of the sudden, the Ducks seemed to figure out that traffic in front would produce some more dangerous chances. However, it was too little, too late. If I’m Randy Carlyle, I would hammer into the heads of my players prior to Game 3 to get to the front of the net as often as possible. Talbot has played really well these playoffs, and Anaheim needs to be doing everything they can to get him off his game.
Best: John Gibson (No, I’m not kidding)
Should Gibson have saved that first shot from Sekera? Maybe. Looking back at the highlight again, Sekera did a good job shooting off Silfverberg’s hip and using him as a screen. My guess is Gibson was not able to track the release of that shot, which was perfect from Sekera. The second goal of the game you can hardly blame on Gibson. A weird bounce off of Maroon’s skate and his own goal stick caught Gibson unaware and went in. However, despite the two goals, Gibson was a big reason why this game was within reach for Anaheim throughout. Despite Anaheim’s dominant possession at even strength, Edmonton was still able to use their speed to produce a plethora of dangerous chances. And Gibson stood tall against every one. Say what you will about the first goal, but Gibson buckled down the rest of the game and kept this one close.
Best: Penalty Kill Improving
While Anaheim did give up the game-winning goal while down a man, the penalty kill looked a lot better last night. Multiple penalty kills saw Edmonton struggled to get any sort of extended zone time, and Anaheim even produced a few shorthanded chances against Cam Talbot. I know people have been very critical of the penalty kill these playoffs, but I think they are on the right track. If Anaheim continues to kill penalties the way they did last night, they could be dangerous in games 3 & 4 as Edmonton has struggled to produce goals at 5-on-5.
3. John Gibson
As I mentioned above, while Gibson may have given up a soft(ish?) goal at the start of the game, the young netminder played stellar throughout the rest of the game. Gibson’s ability to shut down every odd-man rush that Edmonton had kept Anaheim in this game until the end.
2. Ryan Getzlaf
Second in ice time (between both teams) only to Cam Fowler, Getzlaf was was dangerous all night. Five shots on goal and five hits meant the captain was engaged not only physically but offensively as well. He is due for a big game if he keeps playing this way. If that big game comes Sunday night, he could have Anaheim right back in this series.
1. Cam Talbot
Talbot, in my opinion, was the best player on the ice last night. While Anaheim was coming at him in waves, #33 stood strong in net and held on to Edmonton’s one-goal lead. If not for his stellar play, Anaheim could have easily run away with this game considering the plethora of grade-A chances they had throughout the contest. Here’s hoping this goaltender cools off up north.