The now 5-1-1 Ducks defy the odds, yet again

The now 5-1-1 Ducks defy the odds, yet again

The ice was tilted in Anaheim last night but the Ducks managed to pick up another win despite being dominated in a number of key areas. The final score was 4-1 Anaheim but when you look a little deeper at the numbers, you’ll see the Islanders likely deserved a better fate and that John Gibson continues to be the Ducks MVP. 

The final shot total in the game was 35-25 Islanders but that only scratches the surface in terms of which team carried the play. New York outshot Anaheim 16-5 from the slot and 10-3 from the most high danger area on the ice, the inner slot. 

The Islanders lived in the Ducks end, possessing the puck in the attacking zone for 11:15 – the highest single game total by any team this season. The Ducks managed just 4 minutes of offensive zone possession.

Islanders head coach Barry Trotz liked the effort despite the loss, “I would take that game all year long on the road. I thought we played the right way. I think after two periods, they had three scoring chances 5-on-5. We were down 2-0. I give the guys credit; they stayed with it right to the end. We didn’t have any passengers. We didn’t get a save when we needed it unfortunately, but that’s going to happen.”

Mat Barzal continues to be a possession monster for the Islanders, possessing the puck in the attacking end for 2:34, a single game high for a player this season. 

And these were hardly wastes possessions. Barzal completed 8 passes to his teammates in the slot, also a single-game high by any player in the league this season. Despite the massive disparity in zone time and quality shots on net, the Ducks pulled out another win and as mentioned, Gibson deserves a ton of credit. Among goalies who have played at least 2 games, Gibson ranks 4th in save percentage at a ridiculous .948. When you factor in the quality of shots he’s had to stop this season, that number is even more impressive. 

Gibson has faced 94 shots from the slot, 2nd only to Cam Ward, and has stopped 85 of them. His .915 save % on slot shots ranks 2nd among goalies with at least 50 shots against. 

It’s remarkable that the Ducks continue to pick up wins with underlying numbers like the ones we saw in last night’s game but their ability to keep their head above water until they get healthy has been impressive. Hats off to the Ducks and especially John Gibson for finding ways to win, however unsustainable it may be. 

(Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)