Rookie’s stellar play leads Ducks to a playoff spot
After starting the season with a 1-7-2 record in October, John Gibson and the Ducks find themselves in a playoff spot for the time being and above the .500 mark for the first time this season. Gibson’s fine play in December has earned him Rookie of the Month honours. He went 5-3-1 with a minuscule 1.62 GAA, a .929 save percentage, and three shutouts in December alone.
Winning Rookie of the Month is no small feat, considering this season’s class. I don’t think I need to go down that entire list, but you catch my drift. Gibson has brought calm to the Ducks backend and confidence throughout the lineup.
Anaheim ranks dead last in the league for goals scored with 1.89 goals per game. They are almost scoring a goal less than last season (2.78 goals per game), but Gibson has been allowing even less goals than the Ducks are scoring. Last I checked, that’s all that matters. They currently sit fifth in the league with a 2.32 GAA.
Fowler likely out for 4-6 weeks
The Ducks will be without one of the cogs on their blue line for the foreseeable future as a sprained knee will sideline Cam Fowler for a 4-6 weeks. Although he only amassed 12 points since the beginning of the season, he still logged 22:38 per game throughout the season and nearly an average of 26 minutes in December.
With Simon Després already out with a concussion since mid-October, look for Sami Vatanen, Hampus Lindholm and Kevin Bieksa to log a lot more minutes. The Ducks cannot afford anymore injuries to this blueline with this offence still struggling to score goals. Their stellar defensive play and great special teams is what is keeping this team afloat.
Theodore Steps in
Also, keep an eye on rookie defenceman Shea Theodore on the first power play wave alongside Vatanen. He has been in the lineup for the past four games, but has yet to amass a point. He was draft 26th overall in the 2014 draft and has been a good point producer throughout his young hockey career. He also helped bring gold to Canada in last year’s World Junior Tournament in Montreal and Toronto.