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Anaheim November Review
By Thomas Harrington
The injuries really caught up with Anaheim in November, as the Ducks went 5-6-3 for 13 points in 14 games. There was no Ryan Getzlaf, no Ryan Kesler, no Patrick Eaves, and both Cam Fowler and Ondrej Kase missed significant time. Despite all that, the Ducks finished only one point short of .500 last month, so things aren’t as bad as they could be, especially with the move to bring in Adam Henrique. Hopefully he’ll have a strong December and help the Ducks have a much better month.
Anaheim’s best game in November was their 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues. The Blues have been the class of the Western Conference through the first two months of the season. Coming off a blowout loss in Chicago a couple days before, and with no Rickard Rakell or Brandon Montour, the Ducks appeared to have little hope of victory. Instead, Antoine Vermette scored twice, Kevin Roy scored his second career NHL goal, and John Gibson made 37 saves to help the Ducks earn two points. Any victory over the best team in the conference is a good victory, but doing it with so many players out makes it a great victory.
The Ducks’ worst game last month was their 4-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights. While it wasn’t their worst margin of defeat (that honor goes to the aforementioned loss to Chicago), but it was an incredibly disheartening loss. Josh Manson and Derek Grant had given the Ducks a 2-0 lead in the second, and even though Vegas was putting on tons of pressure, it was a game that the Ducks should have held on to win. Instead, the Golden Knights kept pouring on the pressure and eventually scored a goal on Gibson late in the second period. In the third, Vegas scored three unanswered goals, and the Ducks barely mounted any sort of counterattack. The Ducks mustered only 19 shots on goal in this game, while giving up 49 against. If not for a great night from Gibson, the final score would have been a lot worse.
After an abysmal October, the Ducks’ powerplay significantly improved in November. Overall, the team scored 10 goals on 43 opportunities, giving them 14 powerplay goals on the season. While that’s not an elite number, that is much better than the first month of the season. Montour led the team with three powerplay goals in November, while Rakell led the team with five powerplay points, and Corey Perry led the team with four powerplay assists. The Ducks’ best powerplay night came against Vancouver, when Anaheim scored three powerplay goals and looked dangerous throughout the contest. While it’s still not a great powerplay, the Ducks are hovering right around 20th in the league in powerplay percentage, a big step up from where they were a month ago.
While the powerplay has improved, Anaheim’s penalty kill struggled in November. Overall, the Ducks were shorthanded 51 times and allowed 10 powerplay goals. A big part of this is of course the injuries. The Ducks were without Kesler and Getzlaf, their defense eventually got healthy but several players missed several games and weren’t at 100%, and both Gibson and Ryan Miller had injuries last month. With so much turnover on the penalty kill units and the top two goaltenders both getting hurt at separate times, it’s no wonder the Ducks’ penalty kill suffered. Still, certain players like Chris Wagner, Andrew Cogliano, and Jakob Silfverberg have done what they can to kill off opponents’ man advantages.
Two months into the season and the Ducks find themselves a game over .500 and just out of the playoff picture. With so many injuries, that’s actually a pretty good position to be in. If the Ducks can get healthy and new acquisition Adam Henrique works out, they could be a very good team over the rest of the season.
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November 30th, 2017
Filed under: Ducks News Tagged: Anaheim Ducks, Ducks, ducksnpucks, Monthly review, November