“If it weren’t for injuries,” is a phrase that has to be on the minds of many Anaheim Ducks fans, but it may apply to goalie John Gibson in particular.
The 24-year-old continues to be a steadying presence for Anaheim, but he’s unlikely to get many mentions among the cream of the Vezina Trophy crop because he’s been limited to 49 games played. It’s likely not lost on the Ducks that he’s been so fantastic, and the Washington Capitals became painfully aware of that notion on Tuesday.
Despite a heavy 36-18 shots on goal advantage, Washington fell 4-0 to Anaheim. With that, Gibson pushed his personal winning streak to six games, managing his second shutout (maybe another reason his work doesn’t get many mentions?) of 2017-18. The Ducks have won seven of their last nine games overall.
Ultimately, this served as another tough night for frequent Vezina candidate Braden Holtby, who came into Tuesday with a troubling 3.00 GAA.
Holtby allowed three goals in two periods before Barry Trotz gave him the hook. Anaheim didn’t get a bunch of shots, yet the Ducks exploited the occasional Washington breakdown/bit of bad luck:
Gibson was the star of the show, yet other Ducks played a role in the victory. Both Rickard Rakell and Adam Henrique enjoyed one-goal, one-assist performances. Ryan Getzlaf generated two assists, as did Josh Manson.
With this win, the Ducks move – at least briefly – into second place in the Pacific. The Capitals are still in the Metro’s top spot, but this loss narrows the margin of error ahead of the Penguins and hard-charging Flyers.
Both the Ducks and Capitals approach the postseason a rung or two lower on the ladder than they’ve been used to lately, but it seems like Anaheim’s climbing and Washington’s grip is faltering a bit. Then again, maybe it’s all about Gibson just shutting the door.