The Anaheim Ducks haven't always played the prettiest game. This year, they rarely do. But they do have the beauty that is John Gibson in net. Gibson was stellar as the Ducks found a way to comeback late in the game before sealing the deal in overtime, defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1. The Ducks have now won three in a row, all on the road.
A welcoming sight for fans, Hampus Lindholm finally returned to the Ducks lineup after missing six games. He played over 26 minutes of ice time and had the primary assist on the game-winning goal in overtime. When asked about their road-game win streak and him not having any rust after missing some games, his response while smiling, was simple:
This period was highlighted by penalties left and right but without anything to show for them. The first penalty of the game went to the Ducks after Jake Dotchin got called for a slashing.
Ducks would get their own power play a few minutes after and it looked terrible. They struggled to enter the zone and when they did they couldn’t get a handle on the puck to maintain the zone pressure. They even gave up a short-handed opportunity leaving John Gibson to make a couple stellar point blank saves.
Without much else going on during the bulk of the period, the Ducks took their second penalty on a slashing call just outside the 3 minute mark, but the Canes received their own slashing penalty a minute later leading to a 4-on-4 skate.
Right off the ensuing faceoff, Dougie Hamilton sprung forward and received a pass to generate another breakaway opportunity. He tried to go forehand backhand but Gibson got a pad on it.
With just over a minute left, the Canes were able to score the first goal. Andrei Svechnikov entered the zone and received the puck on the wing. He made a cut into the middle and put a hard wrister on net, using Lindholm as a screen, and snuck it past Gibson.
The period ended with the Canes outshooting the Ducks 21-6.
Ducks began the period with Brandon Montour putting the puck over the glass for a penalty. Ducks were able to kill it, but soon after Andrew Cogliano got called for a high-sticking penalty.
Ducks did begin to even up the shooting attempts, and they got their best attempt in the game around the halfway point. In a surprise move, the Ducks generated a clean breakout. Cogliano fed the puck to Ryan Kesler as they entered the zone and, a broken defensive cover, turned it into a breakway chance. Kesler tried to go five hole but McElhinney was able to block it.
Not much else happened other than Gibson being Gibson, but the Ducks were able to outshoot the Canes 8-5 in the period.
Gibson was was lights out all night, but his best save came early in the third period. Phil Di Giuseppe gets in on a breakaway and tries a forehand backhand attempt, but Gibson robbed him with the glove.
The Ducks got a chance at the power play after the Canes got called for interference. They set up in the zone and Ryan Getzlaf got a couple slap shot off from the point. The second attempt beating McElhinney cleanly but rang off the crossbar.
The momentum shifted a little in the Ducks favor, so naturally they followed it up by taking their 6th penalty of the night, Gibbons getting an interference call.
With just under 4 minutes remaining, Adam Henrique received a pass below the Canes net, circled around and tried to put a shot on goal. The puck was tipped and went off a helmet flying straight up into the air. As the puck came back down, Pontus Aberg batted it over McElhinney’s shoulder to tie the game.
No one could break the tie in the remaining minutes so both teams grabbed a point and headed to overtime.
Welcome to possibly the worst overtime play that still resulted in a win. The Ducks won the opening faceoff and immediately dropped back into their own zone. They circled around with the puck attempting to generate a push past their own blue line but ended up behind their own net over and over, failing miserably for what felt like 4 minutes (was actually just 1 minute). That is, until Hampus Lindholm hit Getzlaf on a hail mary pass for a breakaway. Getzlaf roofed it and the Ducks secured their third straight victory on the road.
Best and Worst
Best - John freaking Gibson. He’s insanely good, if you haven’t figured that out yet. He robbed the Canes on multiple breakaway attempts, and turned aside 33 shots to give the Ducks the win tonight. Without him in net, there’s no way the Ducks would’ve walked away with anything but a regulation loss. He’s unmatched when he plays this type of game.
Worst - For much of the game, the Ducks generated little to no seriously threatening offense, while still giving up breakaways and odd-man rushes. How can you commit defenders into the offensive play and still not be getting quality shots on net? I’d say they can’t keep this up and hope to win, but it’s been a lingering issue and they did in fact win.
Best - The Ducks figured out the overtime strategy that works for them. It involves keeping the puck in their own zone and doing nothing with it until a stretch pass breakaway opportunity presents itself. It took them a little longer this game than it did in Edmonton last week (1:15 vs. :14), but if it works then who cares, right?
Three Stars of the Game
1. Tyler Butler-Figueroa - The 11 year old violinist, and leukemia survivor, came out to grace us with the playing of the National Anthem, and it was amazing. To put it simply, he’s a rockstar.
2. John Gibson - 33 save win with numerous saves for the highlight reel
3. Ryan Getzlaf - overtime game winner