It’s not everyday that you can look at a goalie that gives up three goals in a game, gets briefly benched, and still say that he played an outstanding game.
You can say that about Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson on Sunday night.
Gibson tied a franchise-record with 51 saves in a 4-3 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers as he nearly single-handedly kept the Ducks in the game and gave them a chance to come away with the two points.
Really, the whole night was a two-man showing for the Ducks with Gibson holding off the Flyers in the crease and Ryan Kesler recording a hat trick to give them just enough offense to get the game to overtime, allowing them to win it in a shootout thanks to a Corey Perry shootout goal.
During one stretch in the second period Ducks coach Randy Carlyle actually pulled Gibson from the game for 3:48 before putting him back in the game.
Bernier made one save on the only shot he faced.
Carlyle said afterwards the game of musical goaltenders was used “as a timeout,” essentially slowing the game down a little bit when it was starting to get away from them after they had allowed a 3-1 lead to slip away.
This is one of those games where if you are the Ducks you accept the result but need to realize the process behind it is not going to be good enough if it happens again.
Anaheim ended up getting badly outplayed for the most of the night and was outshot by a 55-25 margin.
The 55 shots on goal were the second most allowed in an NHL game this season, falling just short of the 60 shots the Arizona Coyotes allowed earlier this month against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The concern if you’re the Ducks is this is the type of game that has been a calling card of Randy Carlyle coached teams in recent years — get dominated territorially, get outshot, and often times find a way to squeeze out a win in the end. Just going back to the start of the 2008 season there have been 111 games in the NHL where a team has given up more than 50 shots in a game, and 11 of them (almost 10 percent of them) have been teams coached by Carlyle –six during his two stops in Anaheim and five in Toronto. That is obviously not great, and it eventually it comes back to bite you. These types of games haven’t been quite as frequent this season for Carlyle and the Ducks, but it is still not a recipe you want to have to use to win a game in the NHL.
The Ducks will gladly take the two points on Sunday, but with anything less than the outstanding goaltending they received this one could have easily gotten out of hand in the other direction.