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Ducks vs Stars: A Frustrated John Gibson and the Anaheim Defense

October 14, 2018, 8:40 AM ET [1 Comments]
Bobby Kittleberger
Anaheim Ducks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
In the second period of Saturday night’s game against the Dallas Stars, the Anaheim Ducks exemplified a problem that we’ve been seeing from them consistently over the past two seasons: They are routinely outshot and out-chanced. Thus, it was not exactly a surprise to see the Ducks give up 30 shots in a single period to Dallas.

They’ve been building up to it.

Yes, that was a really bad example, but the Ducks gameplan is often one of sitting back and leaning heavily on the quality of their goaltending to win games nonetheless.

I noticed in that second period against Dallas, right around the time John Gibson took a penalty for roughing, the camera would pan in and you could see him grinning ear-to-ear and shaking his head. Making highlight reel save after highlight reel save, Gibson was frustrated, and my bet is it had little to do with Dallas. The team in front of him was forcing him to do far more work than he should have to.

Gibson was being absolutely hung out to dry by his defense and the entire Ducks team, and I wouldn’t blame him at all if the frustration of that period, that game, was intrapersonal within the Anaheim lineup. Every goalie needs help. He needs the team in front of him to skate, to box out shots and to keep shots from getting through.

The Ducks are doing less and less of that, regardless of how many injuries they’re dealing with.

This leads me to believe that Anaheim is dealing with a deeper, systematic issue in their game, especially in regards to how they play with a lead. At one point, the Ducks led this game 3-0. We’ve seen them lay back on leads of 1-0, 2-0 and 2-1 regularly, and it’s likely that you were seeing one of the more problematic aspects of the Ducks coaching strategy.

And it’s killing Gibson.

If Anaheim could ice even a moderately competent defensive strategy and gameplan in front of Gibson, they would be extremely difficult to score against.

And while it’s obvious that giving up 30 shots in a period is bad, it masks the deeper systematic issue with the Ducks game plan.

Treat the underlying cause.
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