The Anaheim Ducks know they can’t keep relying on the play of goaltender John Gibson, who has saved the team with his impressive play. Most recently Gibson sustained a 44-shot performance on Saturday (many of which were high-danger shots) against the Golden Knights, who walked away with a 3-1 win. Gibson wasn’t thrilled with the team’s inability to keep those shots down, according to The Athletic’s Josh Cooper (subscription required).
“I think we just need to be better. It’s getting old,” Gibson said with a little smirk after the 3-1 loss where he made 42 saves and his team managed just 18 shots on goal. “You see the game. You can see what we’re doing. It’s pretty self explanatory. We’re not playing to the level that I think we’re capable of playing and I think we’re just being too satisfied with just being average.”
Anaheim remains in first place in the Pacific Division at 5-2-1, but are dead last in the NHL in shots allowed as they have yielded an average of 37.0 shots per game. Gibson has been able to protect the team with his play as he boasts a .949 save percentage in his seven appearances and has a 1.91 GAA so far, but it’s unlikely he can keep that up.
“We’re not playing the right way,” coach Randy Carlyle said. “We’re loose in coverage and we’re not competitive enough and when you’re not competitive enough it means they’re starting with the puck and winning more of those battles and they have the puck more than you do.”
- The Vegas Golden Knights finally got winger Alex Tuch back on the ice Sunday as the practiced with the team in a non-contact sweater, according to Las Vegas Review-Journal’s David Schoen. Tuch, who just signed a seven-year, $33.25MM contract, hasn’t appeared in a game for Vegas this season. The 22-year-old has been out since Sept. 30 with an injury. With that new deal in hand, The Athletic’s Jesse Granger (subscription required) wonders how good Tuch can actually be, considering the team only has his rookie season’s numbers of 15 goals and 37 points, which mostly had him on the team’s third line. The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder is great at getting into the corners and doing the dirty work and the scribe compares him to a young Milan Lucic, who also put up similar numbers as a rookie and eventually become a consistent 20-goal scorer for years. “We’re expecting him to get better every year, and we’re expecting big things from him this year and he should be back soon,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “He’s a good young player but he has to keep getting better. He’s not elite yet. He’s far from elite, and we want him to get to be elite someday.”
- With no goals in eight games, there has been quite a bit of criticism that has been thrown at Vancouver Canucks winger Loui Eriksson, the team’s highest paid player at $6MM per year. Regardless head coach Travis Green vigorously defended his veteran forward on Saturday, according to TSN’s Jeff Patterson. “He’s second on our team in 5-on-5 points and second in plus-minus and it’s seven games, not 50,” said Green. “He’s on the second power-play unit and not the first. He has done some good things and it’s not just about goals with Loui. There a lots of guys I want more out of and if I say I want more out of Loui, everyone is up in arms about it. I thought he was playing good with Elias Pettersson. He was good defensively and does some subtle things that people don’t notice — nor does he get recognition for – and I’m not worried about Eriksson, I can tell you that.”
- The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz reports that center Joe Thornton remains day-to-day after he was placed on injured reserve due to swelling in his surgically repaired knee. However, the 39-year-old is expected to travel with the team for their upcoming three-game road trip. “I don’t know if he’ll play or not,” said Sharks coach Peter DeBoer. Thornton, however, said he hopes to play this week.