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Anaheim Ducks November Review
By Thomas Harrington
The Anaheim Ducks played 15 games in the month of November, going 8-4-3 and picked up 19 points. Considering the injury situation and the team not playing to the best of its abilities, finishing four games above the .500 mark is a good sign. Anaheim finished out the month by winning its last three games in a row. The Ducks are currently in the top three in the Pacific, though that is a little misleading since they have played more games than anyone else in the division except for Vancouver.
Anaheim’s best game of the month was their 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was the Ducks’ second game of a five-game road trip, and the trip had started out poorly in Nashville with a 5-2 loss. Tampa has been one of the best teams in the league this year, and they lead the league in home wins. Neither team found the back of the net in the first period, but Josh Manson gave the Ducks the lead in the second. Brayden Point then tied things up before the period was over. In the third period, Nick Ritchie scored a powerplay goal to make it 2-1, and Carter Rowney scored 48 seconds later to make it a 3-1 game. It was Rowney’s first game back after missing 20 games with an injury. His addition helped to galvanize Anaheim’s fourth line and penalty kill unit. While the Ducks were outshot in this game, coming into the best home arena in the league after a disheartening loss and getting a win was a great sign of how this team is able to weather adversity and improve their game.
The Ducks’ worst game of November was their 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. While there were other games where Anaheim was outplayed by a larger margin, this game was a truly inexcusable result. The Kings have been the worst team in the league all season. Between that and the fact that they are Anaheim’s rivals, this should have been at least an exciting and close game. Instead, the Ducks came out and went through the motions. They trailed 2-0 after the first period, and it was 3-0 before Ryan Kesler gave the Ducks any life late in the second. The Kings finished things off with a goal late in the third to make it 4-1. To make things worse, Anaheim failed to score on four powerplay opportunities, and allowed a powerplay goal during Los Angeles’ sole powerplay, making this the rare game where the special teams were completely ineffective.
Anaheim’s special teams weren’t particularly strong in the month of November. The powerplay had 46 chances but only scored six times. Those six powerplay goals were scored by six different players: Adam Henrique, Ryan Getzlaf, Pontus Aberg, Ondrej Kase, Ritchie, and Jakob Silfverberg. Henrique, Aberg, Kase, Silfverberg, Rickard Rakell, and Brandon Montour all had two powerplay points to lead the team. If Anaheim’s powerplay had connected a few more times, it’s likely that the Ducks would have had a couple more wins in November.
The Ducks found themselves shorthanded 56 times and gave up 11 goals. John Gibson gave up eight of those 11 goals, and Ryan Miller gave up the other three. The good news is that during the Ducks’ three-game win streak, they only gave up one powerplay goal and none to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Hopefully, Anaheim’s penalty kill unit can keep up that kind of work going forward. Anaheim scored no shorthanded goals in November.
Anaheim has had an up and down season with little to no consistency. The offense has been nonexistent many nights and the defense has struggled as well. Despite all that, the Ducks find themselves solidly in a playoff spot. If they can find some consistency to their game, the Ducks should see significant improvement in all aspects of their game. Hopefully, that search for consistency has already begun with these last three wins. December will give us a good idea of what this team is truly capable of.
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December 1st, 2018