What we learned from the Ducks’ 5-3 win over the Penguins
The Ducks, in their first home game of 2018, ended the Pittsburgh Penguins’ four-game winning streak with a 5-3 victory at Honda Center. The Ducks seemingly had the game locked up after four unanswered goals, but a late Pens surge on the power play forced the Ducks to fend them off to hold on for the win. Here’s what we learned:
Kevin Bieksa brings veteran leadership and toughness to the squad, but his turnovers are becoming a liability. The 36-year-old was responsible for two turnovers on one shift alone, the last of which resulted in an Evgeni Malkin goal to put the Pens up 1-0. But Randy Carlyle isn’t about to single out Bieksa.
“I’m concerned about everybody’s turnovers,” Carlyle said when asked about Bieksa’s play by the Los Angeles Times. “I think you’re singling him out. I think there’s a few guys back there who are having too many [turnovers].”
When Bieksa passes the puck, he often doesn’t generate enough mustard on it, leading to it floating on the ice, and often collected by the opposing squad. But with Sami Vatanen in New Jersey, Bieksa is going to play.
Ondrej Kase has been a revelation in his second season. The Czech Republic native producing his second multi-point game in three outings, and he generated two breakaways, scoring on one that showed just how great his hands are.
Paired up with centerman Adam Henrique and power forward Nick Ritchie on the third line, the Ducks now have three reliable lines that can put the puck in the net.
“He’s gotta be put in situations that he can have success and that’s the most important thing,” Carlyle said. “With our lineup, we’re finally getting some consistency back. The addition of Henrique in the middle with Ritchie and Kase has given us another, somewhat of an offensive weapon.
“I know that [Ryan] Kesler and [Jakob] Silfverberg with [Andrew] Cogliano and [J.T.] Brown tonight, I know that they can provide offense also and [Ryan] Getzlaf, [Corey] Perry and [Rickard] Rakell would be our go-to guys. It gives us some depth in creating offense.”
John Gibson continues to give the Ducks a chance to win almost every night. Sure, he let up two late goals, but those were both against the league’s best power play, and when it mattered most, Gibson was there with his trademark splits and sprawls to hold on to victory.
The goalie now boasts a 1.87 goals-against-average and a .934 save percentage in his last eight starts, allowing two goals or fewer in five of those outings.
“They have talent and we gave them some chances, it’s something we have to work on,” Gibson said. “I wasn’t at my best in the third, either, but we fought back and we held on and it was a good win.”
Go beyond the scoreboard
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