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Ducks December/Games 31-40 Review
By Thomas Harrington
Anaheim’s 40th game coincided with the end of December, so the 10 game and monthly reviews will be combined into one. The Ducks continued to struggle in the month of December and over the past 10 games. Overall, the Ducks went 5-7-1 in December, with a record of 4-5-1 over the previous 10 games.
The Ducks’ best game in December was their wild 6-5 shootout win over the New York Islanders. It was a messy game full of mistakes, but it was just plain fun to watch, arguably the most entertaining game that the Ducks have played this season. The Islanders are one of the top defensive teams this season, so scoring five against them in regulation is quite impressive. In a season that hasn’t been a ton of fun, this game was a treat for Anaheim fans.
Anaheim’s worst game in December was their 3-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils. New Jersey has been one of the worst teams in the league all season, and they had just traded away Taylor Hall, the league MVP for the 2017-2018 season. Adam Henrique scored early to make it 1-0 for Anaheim, but the Ducks gave up two goals in the second and another in the third to drop a game that they should have won.
Best and Worst Forward
Anaheim’s best forward over the last 10 games was Jakob Silfverberg. He was tied for the team lead with three goals and led the team with seven points. This was capped off by him being named to the All-Star Game for the first time, a well-deserved honor for him. Silfverberg has been one of Anaheim’s few bright spots this season, so it was great to see him rewarded.
The Ducks’ worst forward over the last 10 games was Ryan Getzlaf. In eight games, he recorded only one assist and had a -10 rating, worst among Anaheim’s forwards. He did miss a few games with an illness, so it’s possible that affected him for all eight games he played in, but he still needs to put up more than one point.
Best and Worst Defenseman
The best defenseman over the last 10 games was Hampus Lindholm. He’s missed a lot of games this season, but he played in the last 10 games and led the defense with four assists and five points. Besides his offensive contributions, he was a steady, reliable presence most nights on Anaheim’s blueline.
Anaheim’s worst defenseman over the last 10 games was Josh Manson. He played in all 10 games and recorded zero points, and he wasn’t great defensively either. Similar to Lindholm, he’s been injured for a lot of this season as well. I’m hoping as the season goes along his play will improve, but he’s been struggling recently.
In net, John Gibson started eight games and had a record of 4-3-1, while Ryan Miller started two games and went 0-2-0. Neither goaltender was spectacular, but Anaheim’s struggles certainly can’t be laid at their feet.
Special Teams Improvement
After struggling through the first two months of the season, Anaheim’s powerplay came alive in December. After scoring only seven powerplay goals through November, the Ducks’ man advantage exploded for nine goals over the final month of 2019. Cam Fowler and Silfverberg led the team with two powerplay goals each, while the other five goals were scored by Henrique, Derek Grant, Max Comtois, Rickard Rakell, and Lindholm. Lindholm and Silfverberg led the team with five powerplay points each.
Anaheim’s penalty kill was good in December, giving up only six goals on 34 chances. Gibson gave up four of those and Miller gave up two. Sam Carrick did score a shorthanded goal, his first goal as a Duck and second of his career.
Anaheim’s rookies and young players continue to not put up a ton of points. Sam Steel played in nine games and scored two points, Isac Lundestrom played in six games and had two assists, Max Jones was scoreless in six games, Troy Terry was scoreless in four games, Comtois played in 10 games and had three points, Jacob Larsson played in five games and had one assist, and Josh Mahura was scoreless in two games. Anaheim is still waiting for at least one of them to break out, and hopefully one of them does in the second half of the season.
Injuries really started to pile up over the last 10 games. Grant and Terry were both injured over the last 10 games and will be out for significant time. Nick Ritchie missed all 10 games, while Rakell has missed the last four. Getzlaf and Silfverberg both missed time as well.
The Ducks are essentially at the halfway point of the season, and it looks like they’ll miss the playoffs for the second straight season. There’s still time for a dramatic second-half turnaround, but the entire team is going to have to completely turn their game around going forward. It’s unlikely, but it’s still exciting to watch Anaheim’s future on display. Even though many of Anaheim’s young players are struggling, there are still glimpses of what the Ducks hope they will turn into in the coming years.
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January 1st, 2020