The Anaheim Ducks put a halt to their twelve-game losing streak and then followed it up with another win on Saturday. They bounced the Devils in Newark by a score of 3-2 behind another solid performance by John Gibson. Gibson hasn’t been the problem in net. Even during their never-ending skid, Gibson did his part and kept the Ducks in games.
With virtually no help from the offence, losses kept piling up, though. With the losing streak behind them, they can forget about it focus on putting a winning streak together now. A win today and they’ll suddenly have three wins in a row. Despite a horrible month, the Ducks would be in the playoffs with a wildcard if the playoffs started today. They’re a point up for the final seed in the Western Conference.
There aren’t a lot of teams who can fall into a drought like that and say they are still looking at the postseason from the inside. With the Ducks on the fence at the moment, every point matters from here on out. Randy Carlyle suggested that they are likely to go with Gibson in net again on Sunday.
There isn’t really a reason to bench him, even on a back-to-back, with how he’s been playing between the pipes. Giving him a break could knock him off his pedestal, so they might as well stay with the hot hand. The Ducks have to recoup some of those losses and putting three straight wins together is a nice start. The Islanders are likely to pose a challenge this afternoon. For a team that struggled to score for twelve games, they run into the best defence in the league tonight. Head below for our free Ducks vs. Islanders pick.
Anaheim Ducks vs. N.Y. Islanders Pick
It’s been a crazy resurgence for the Islanders. Most notably, I’m talking about their defensive effort. They’ve gone from the worst to the best in the NHL. Last season the Islanders allowed an average of 3.57 for 31st in the league. This season has been a total 180, with an average of 2.47 goals per game for 1st. If the Golden Knights going to the Stanley Cup Final wasn’t reason enough to establish how crazy the NHL can be, the Islanders going from a doormat to a padlocked blue line just makes you want to chuckle.
But for the Islanders, they had to go in this direction. They lost John Tavares and knew they had to find something else to get them by. They’re not only getting by but excelling. The Islanders enter with a record of 28-15-1 and 1st in the Metropolitan. They came out of nowhere to leapfrog the Capitals and Blue Jackets.
Their first meeting against the Ducks this season didn’t go so well. They were downed by a score of 4-1 in Anaheim, as Gibson did his best Vezina impression again this season. He has given up 2 goals in his last two games. If there’s a game plan to defeat the Islanders this season, it’s matching their intensity on defence. The Ducks have turned it up after losing in embarrassing fashion to the Red Wings for their 12th loss in a row.
Note that the Isles are coming off a back-to-back on Thursday and Friday. They won both, including their two games before that for a four-game winning streak. Most impressive is the fact they beat the Lightning, and their most recent win is against the Caps, 2-0. The Islanders did not practice on Saturday after the back-to-back.
They’ve been playing solid hockey obviously, but I think oddsmakers are tipping the scale too far in their scale now. At -200, I can’t justify taking them at that price. The Ducks may have gone on a 12-game losing streak, but their overall body of work is not nearly that bad. I’d rather take the plus odds with the better value on the Ducks to edge out the Islanders on Sunday.