The Ducks finally scored first in a contest, and though it still wasn’t the start they were looking for, they earned a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders on Wednesday at Honda Center. Here’s what we learned:
Gibson continues strong play
With backup Ryan Miller sidelined, John Gibson has received all four starts to begin the season. So far, so good. In fact, Gibson seems to improve with each game. He thwarted the Islanders on 20 of 21 shots in the first period and ensured the Ducks would have a chance when their usual second-period rebound started. Wednesday was his best performance of the season, with 39 saves on 41 shots, and his stats have improved each time out. Next, he must do it far from the confines of home.
No rust on Eaves
Bearded winger Patrick Eaves returned after missing the Ducks’ first three games — and all of the preseason — with a lower-body injury, and he never missed a beat. He rejoined the top line and No. 1 power play unit and logged 17:24 of ice time. More importantly, he scored the game-winning goal and provided another offensive threat for opposing teams to worry about.
Captain gets going
Ryan Getzlaf admitted he wasn’t playing at top speed during his return in Game 3. The same couldn’t be said for his second game back. The captain dished two assists and added another two blocked shots. He also was strong on the power play point and was consistently firing pucks at the net.
Rakell’s transition to center pays off
Swede Rickard Rakell scored a career-best 33 goals last season as a winger, but heading into this campaign, he also had to deal with a position change. That didn’t just mean being the face-off guy on key draws. It also meant new defensive responsibility and creating chances for his linemates. So far, Rakell has been all over the ice and continues to create his own shots. He again scored a goal and led the Ducks with five shots one game after he generated a team-high seven shots.