Aberg’s incredible goal not enough as Ducks again leave Gibson out to dry

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The Anaheim Ducks are trending in the wrong direction.

After starting the season with a 5-1-1 mark in their first seven games, mostly on the back of goaltender John Gibson, the team lost its fifth game in a row on Sunday night, losing in overtime, 4-3, to the San Jose Sharks.

The Ducks were able to at least get a point in this game thanks to a rally that saw them overcome a two-goal deficit. The tying goal, scored by Pontus Aberg, came midway through the third period and was one of the prettiest goals of the young season as he forced a turnover in the neutral zone and then completely undressed Sharks defenseman Joakim Ryan.

Look at this play!


Unfortunately for the Ducks that was as close as they would get to winning as San Jose’s Timo Meier won it in overtime with his second goal of the game (and eighth of the season) just two minutes into the extra period. His game-winning goal came on San Jose’s 49th shot of the game as the Ducks were once again outshot by a completely ridiculous margin.

So far this season the Ducks have been outshot in all but two of their games, and in only one of those two did they outshoot their opponents (they outshoot the Detroit Red Wings 27-21 in the third game of the season).

They have been outshot by at least 10 shots in nine of their games, including seven games where they have been outshot by at least 15 shots. They have what is, by far, the worst shot differential in the league and after Sunday’s game are 39.1 shots per game. That is two more per game than any other team in the league and more than nine shots per game worse than the league average.

Gibson, who made 45 saves on Sunday night, has now stopped at least 40 shots in four of his first 10 starts. He has only won one of those four starts.

To look at it another way, there have only been 11 games this season where a goalie has stopped 40 shots in a game and lost. Gibson has three of those losses.

Another way to look at it: Since the start of the 2017-18 season, teams whose goalies stop at least 40 shots in a game have a .647 points percentage in those games. The Ducks are .375 in such games with Gibson this season.

It almost defies logic to have a goalie make that many saves and still lose that often. And it is a bad sign that they are because there is nothing in the way the Ducks are playing that seems to suggest those shots against numbers are going to decline anytime soon, especially since that seems to be the calling card of every Randy Carlyle coached team.

Their only hope is for Gibson to keep standing on his head. Problem is, even when he does it is no guarantee the Ducks are going to win.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.