Okay so the Ducks may not have deserved to win that one, but they most certainly did in a David vs Goliath-esque encounter to get the season started on the right foot.
John Gibson set the scene and laid down the gauntlet for any goaltenders wishing to challenge him for the Vezina - or he at least did his darnedest on National Television (TM) to garner some remote interest from pundits who pay little to no attention to games played in small markets out west. #EastCoastBias
There is no debating he was the difference, turning away 31 shots and facing down Evander Kane on a clear cut breakaway in a tied game proving to be the turning point for his team-mates.
The Sharks held all of the advantage in most if not all statistical departments, both fancy and otherwise, but at the same time - I would like to point out (and I know its a disproved and antiquated stat that nobody likes) that Erik Karlsson was a team worst -2. He was on ice for the Montour game-winner and allowed Montour to beat him to make the shot (that Jones really should have had), and I forget which other goal, but despite the National broadcast fawning over him - I wasn't really all that impressed (except for maybe his Film Noir curled mustache game).
Here is a fancy heat-map to show you just exactly how God-like John Gibson was.
- Maxime Comtois
- Keifer Sherwood
- Sam Steel
- Troy Terry
The New Guys
- Carter Rowney
- Ben Street
- Pontus Aberg
The Usual Suspects That Did Well
- Adam Henrique
- Rickard Rakell
- Ryan Getzlaf
- Brandon Montour
- Jakob Silfverberg
Didn’t Have a Great Night
- Marcus Pettersson
- Pontus Aberg
Comtois and Sherwood stood out to me the most among the rookies. Comtois obviously for the easy finish on that first goal and Sherwood for looking so composed, tenacious and relentless. The kid didn't quit all night. If he stays with the big club and plays like that all season, he could single-handedly tilt the Anti-Ducks PP ratio in their favor this year.
Terry and Steel looked a little lost at times. There were a few occasions when Terry seemed a tad overwhelmed and unsure what to do or where to be. I saw him stop skating a couple of times coming back last on the back-check. He attempted to make some great passing plays and you can see the ideas are there. As soon as he, Rakell and Getzlaf get some chemistry going - look out. Steel played a tiny bit better, but I think may have been a victim of his line-mates. He is a play maker and needs to be with scorers. Cogs tried his best, but a sniper he is not, and Aberg....
Gibson, nuff said.
Pettersson and Schenn were ... interesting. Pettersson played his game, simple in-out plays, but I believe he would be better suited with a faster skating puck mover to help him out when he gets into trouble in transition. If he doesn't improve I can see Mahura taking his spot by year’s end. Manson and Fowler were another pair that didn't have a great night. Fowler in particular made more than a few blunders and Manson appeared to take it upon himself to destroy every Shark he could after Kane beat him on the first goal. It was fun to watch the carnage, but it is also meant he took himself out of the play sometimes because of it.
Smart, speedy, faster hockey! You guys! Caryle is playing a new system! It has a few bugs defensively sure, but it’s better than the slow archaic dump and chase or the snooze fest we have been dealing with the past two seasons.
Also the Power Play. Holy cow. That one passing sequence on the Henrique goal was so quick and made the Sharks look so bad that I actually squealed aloud with delight.
National Broadcast guys made a lot of mistakes and were generally annoying as well as feeling a tad biased toward the home team. Come on guys! Rickard Rakell plays for the Ducks not the Sharks!
I expected more of Pontus Aberg. That goaltender interference penalty was vintage Ritchie, and he didn't really stand out much in any other facet of the game. It’s unfair to judge since he only just joined the team so I will give him the benefit of the doubt. Next game I will also be keeping an eye on him.
Three Stars Of The Game:
- John Gibson
- Brandon Montour
- Jakob Silfverberg/Rickard Rakell