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What we learned from the Ducks' 1-0 win over San Jose

What we learned from the Ducks' 1-0 win over San Jose
Ducks forwardMike Santorelli (25) maneuvers behind the San Jose net in Anaheim's 1-0 win over the Sharks on Dec. 4 at Honda Center. (Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images)

The push by San Jose never came and the Ducks turned in one of their best defensive third periods in recent memory to make goalie John Gibson’s performance translate to a 1-0 win Friday against the Sharks.

It's an ideal formula for victory in a season in which such blueprints haven't come to fruition enough for the Ducks.

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Here's what we learned:

Defense is still the Ducks’ bread and butter. They allowed one shot through the first half of the third and two total for the period. Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said it “might have been our best third period as far as shutting teams down” in the past few years.

It also might be their new template after their second 1-0 win against San Jose this season. The Ducks' offense still hasn't come around, so scratching out low-scoring wins is the alternative.

“Playoff games are a lot like that,” Shawn Horcoff said. “You have to learn to be able to close games out. That was a great effort for us. We did it by being aggressive.”

John Gibson isn't going anywhere. Gibson's contract allows him to be reassigned without going through waivers, but that's not a logical option to clear the Ducks' logjam of three goalies.

Gibson is 2-1-1 with a 0.67 goals-against average and .971 save percentage in his past three games and 3-2-1 with two shutouts since his recall Nov.24.

"I'm just trying to play my game, and when the team plays like that in front of me, it makes my job that much easier," Gibson said.

Nate Thompson is back. Thompson assisted on Mike Santorelli’s goal and was promoted to the second line with Ryan Kesler and Jakob Silfverberg.

It was Thompson's second game of the season in his return from major shoulder surgery this summer. Thompson is a blue-collar player who won't put up fantasy-league statistics but he can have an impact in blocked shots, faceoffs, penalty killing and forechecking.

"We've missed that element," Boudreau said.

Follow Curtis Zupke on Twitter @CurtisZupke

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