Week five came and went seeing the Anaheim Ducks deliver a 1-1-1 record. More importantly, their young stalwart on the back end, Hampus Lindholm, was back on the ice and a welcome sight for all Ducks fans:
"It's going to be fun to get back out there and play some hockey."@HampeLindholm is ready to go: https://t.co/xqZ453VlBy #LetsGoDucks pic.twitter.com/8xq8TX3RqQ
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) November 9, 2016
Inconsistency remained the theme for the week as the Ducks fell behind early in Columbus before battling back to get at least a point then finishing their brief three-game road trip with a stinker at Nashville. Here is your Ducks’ week five flashback.
Game 14: @ Columbus, Wednesday, November 9 – L 3-2 in OT (John Gibson)
Game 15: @ Carolina, Thursday, November 10 – W 4-2 (Jonathan Bernier, GWG Jakob Silfverberg)
Game 16: @ Nashville, Saturday, November 12 – L 5-0 (Gibson)
Overall: 7-6-3, 17 points; 3rd in Pacific, 6th in Western Conference
Hampus Lindholm Back in the Fold
Finally being able to deploy his full compliment of troops, Randy Carlyle has to be pleased. After skating the first 13 games of the young season without a full roster, Lindholm was inserted into the lineup against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Although the Ducks ended the week giving up eight goals against, having Lindholm back further strengthens what was already considered the Ducks’ biggest weapon.
Being able to put Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen, or Lindholm on the ice at any point is a wonderful problem any coach would want. One underrated skill Lindholm possesses is his ability to get the puck to the net from the point. Though a blistering slap shot always looks cooler, sometimes just being able to get the puck through the large humans in front of you is enough to allow guys like Rickard Rakell to make something happen with it:
Yes, Fowler was the one that actually shot this particular one, but you get the point. Lindholm does not have the hardest shot by any means, but his ability to snap it through allows the skilled and big bodied forwards to at least have a chance to do something with it.
Goalie Controversy Brewing?
Only 16 games into the season, one could easily make the argument that Bernier has been better than Gibson thus far. I know I have been critical of Gibson in past articles, but the numbers do not lie either:
Gibson: 5-5-3 record, 2.68 GAA, 90.2%
Bernier: 2-1-0 record, 2.08 GAA, 93.4%
Of course, numbers do not tell the whole story. We can get into the advanced statistics and see where the shots are coming from, who shoots them, etc. But for me, Bernier has just looked like the better goaltender. Hardly do you see Bernier so far out of position that he is scrambling to get back. Gibson has shown to be the more athletic goaltender with saves like these:
However, Gibson has also already been pulled in three starts this year. With Freddie Andersen being shipped off to Toronto, Gibson was called upon to take over as the undisputed number one. Although still early, Gibson’s inconsistency has to be corrected if the Ducks hope to go far this year.
Game 17: vs. Edmonton, Tuesday, November 15 – 7:00 PST
Game 18: vs. New Jersey, Thursday, November 17 – 7:00 PST
Game 19: vs. Los Angeles, Sunday, November 20 – 5:00 PST
The darlings of the young season come to Anaheim Tuesday as Ducks fans get their first look at the high-flying Oilers. Led by superstar Connor McDavid, Edmonton has the town buzzing once again.
Even off to a better start than the Oilers, the Devils come in with an 8-3-3 record, including winners of four in a row. The Devils defeated the Ducks 2-1 back on Oct. 18. Taylor Hall continues to lead the way with 12 points in 14 games.
To cap off the week, the beloved Kings make their first stop at Honda Center. After defeating the Kings 4-0 in their first meeting, expect a nasty rematch to ensue. The injuries keep piling up for the Kings, as captain Anze Kopitar and goaltender Jeff Zaitkoff had to leave the game early against Ottawa.
Highlight of the Week:
Although technically from week four, this was too good to pass up:
Thanks to our special guest, Military Police Patrol/Explosive Detector Dog, Corporal Nero, for dropping the puck tonight! #DucksSalute pic.twitter.com/lPRSQFNbIL
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) November 7, 2016
Minus of the Week:
Quite a bit went wrong here: