After the Ducks first 10 games of the season, we were on them pretty hard about being the worst defensive team in the league, at that point. They had allowed 25 or more slot shot attempts against every game which we explained here, is a ridiculous number. Well, they’ve sure turned things around in their last 10 games, winning 9 of them including a 4-game win streak. So, what’s gone right, lately?
Anaheim has increased the amount of traffic and scoring chances from in front of the net and as a byproduct, increased the number of goals it’s scoring.
In the Ducks first 25 games, they averaged 1.7 goals per game, the 3rd fewest. In the last 10, 3.1 goals per game, tied for the 2nd most.
The return of Ondrej Kase certainly helps as he has 6 Goals and 6 Assists during his last 10 and does a great job of creating quality looks on net. Anaheim has been attacking with speed, taking the puck to the net as a three-man unit and has been relentless on the puck. This goal by Pontus Aberg is a perfect example of how they’re accomplishing it.
The Ducks also have John Gibson who’s been one of the best goalies in the league this year. His 92.7% save percentage and 87.4% slot save percentage is the fourth and seventh best respectively among goalies who’ve played at least 15 games. Not to mention the fact that he’s been on our actual to expected goals against leaderboard almost all year, where he currently sits third.
Gibson helps mask many of the Ducks defensive issues so if they can continue to emphasize getting to high-danger areas at even-strength they could solidify their hold on a playoff spot and push the Flames for the top of the Pacific division.
(Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)