08:00 ET

Gibson and McTavish Outshine Stars

John Gibson

John Gibson earned his first shutout of the season to lead the Ducks to a 2-0 victory over the Dallas Stars last night at Honda Center.

Gibson stopped all 35 shots, which included some big saves in high-danger areas. After missing two weeks due to injury, Gibson has started all four games since he has came back and has looked spectacular in two of those games.

Going into the game last night, everyone knew it would be interesting, given the lineup changes that head coach Dallas Eakins made. Eakins has made some interesting lineup decisions this season, but last night was a bit out there.

Ducks fans were finally heard for their cries for Mason McTavish to move up in the lineup and play with more skilled players to complement his game better. McTavish slotted in as the first-line center for the first time in his young career, moving Trevor Zegras to the second-line left wing.

It does not make much sense for Zegras to be on the same line as Ryan Strome and Frank Vatrano, given their struggles this season and just simply how they do not play a similar game as Zegras. It would make more sense to move Zegras to the first-line left wing and Adam Henrique to the second-line left wing or even the second-line center.

The new first-line of Henrique-McTavish-Terry quickly proved to be a dominant one as they created quite a few scoring chances early, including the opening goal by Henrique just over three minutes into the game. McTavish fed Henrique a lateral pass as they entered the offensive zone, and Henrique flung it towards the net from along the boards, above the face-off circle to the right of Stars goaltender Scott Wedgewood. Stars defensemen and Duck legend Jani Hakanpaa tried to swat the puck down but ended up tipping it past Wedgewood for the Ducks’ first goal.

Then about halfway through the first period, Mason McTavish ripped home a one-timer on the power play from a cross-ice pass from Zegras. As the saying goes, “third time’s the charm” because the power play unit tried feeding McTavish one-timers twice before in the last 30 seconds. If the Stars did their homework on the Ducks’ power play, they would know that the strategy for the Ducks’ power play has been McTavish one-timers as of late.

The Ducks finished the period strong and generated some more good scoring chances but could not convert them. With consistent puck possession, the Ducks were able to apply pressure for a whole period, something that has been a rarity for Anaheim this season.

After the first period, though, it seemed as though the Ducks took their foot off of the gas and coasted the rest of the game. The Ducks had 0.94 expected goals in all situations after the first period but only accumulated 0.51 the rest of the game to finish with 1.45, according to MoneyPuck. The Ducks had to rely on their penalty kill and their goaltending to hold on the rest of the way, and fortunately for them, both were stellar.

Going into last night’s contest, the Dallas Stars boasted the third-best power play percentage in the NHL at 28.1%. Meanwhile, the Ducks had the third-worst penalty-kill percentage at 70.5%. Anaheim played with fire last night when they took four penalties, but their penalty kill stood up to the task. Going a perfect 4-4 against the third-best power play in the league, the Ducks’ penalty kill looked the best it has all season. A mix of great goaltending, lots of disrupted passes, and blocked shots frustrated the Stars all night. Including a penalty by Zegras with just 1:55 to go in the game, where he stole Joel Kiviranta’s stick and tried to play with it. Something that Ducks fans are a little familiar with.

The Ducks held on and took down the first place in the Central Division Dallas Stars 2-0 and improved to 11-24-4 with 26 points and snapped a six-game losing streak against the Stars, dating back to December 13th, 2018.

John Gibson earned his first shutout since November 2nd, 2021, and has played spectacularly in two out of four games since coming back from injury, so hopefully, this means that the old Gibson is coming back. It would be great timing for Gibson to find his stride again because of the trade deadline looming. There has not been much talk about Gibson getting dealt, but with the emergence of the Ducks’ top goalie prospect Lukas Dostal, the Ducks could be listening to offers on Gibson at the deadline or over the offseason.

It was also another stellar night for McTavish, who, as mentioned earlier, made his first-line center debut last night. Picking up a goal and an assist, McTavish now sits tied for second in rookie scoring with 22 points, just five points back from Seattle Kraken rookie Matty Beniers.

The Ducks will continue their homestand with a matchup against division rivals, San Jose Sharks, on Friday at 7:00 p.m. PST.

On this week's chaotic episode of LAP, Jake, Chris, and Lou talk about the Stanley Cup Final, some coaching changes and share some thoughts on the ESPN and TNT broadcasts. They also talk at length abouth why Florida's uniforms need to change and finish things up with listener questions!Follow Late Arrivals Twitter: @latearrivalspodInstagram: @latearrivalspodFollow the hostsChris: @CJKChelConnor: @91_PlutyJake: @_JRobles71Louis: @Louiex37 Intro/ Outro done by Will Rice/ @pastorwillrice
  1. Episode 45: Out On Main
  2. Episode 44: Oh Rats!
  3. Episode 43: Lets Get Silly
  4. Episode 42: LAP Knows Ball(s)
  5. Episode 41: Release The Geese

Jack Janes

Journalism major at the University of La Verne. Writer for Inside The Rink covering the Anaheim Ducks.

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