Quack of Dawn: Ducks Report

The Sporting Tribune's Derek Lee has you covered with the latest from the Anaheim Ducks.

ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Ducks are back home tonight after returning from a four-game road trip, one in which the latter half was much better than the former. After a tough overtime loss to the Florida Panthers and a 6-1 shellacking at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim responded with a pair of resounding wins over the Washington Capitals and the Carolina Hurricanes.

They were buoyed by the return of Troy Terry––who scored in both games––and two excellent performances from John Gibson. Gibson recorded his third 50-save game of the season on Saturday against the Hurricanes and was named the NHL’s Third Star of the Week earlier this morning.

“Just doing my job,” said Gibson when asked about the accolade. “I don’t really care about that stuff.”

Feb 25, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (36) and defenseman Cam Fowler (4) celebrate their victory against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Dallas Eakins was more effusive in his reaction to the news. “He should have been first star.” Eakins continued by talking about how well Gibson did on the recent road trip and how Gibson had done a great job of taking each game individually. He also noted that they need to manage Gibson’s workload a little and plan to have Lukáš Dostál patrol the crease tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Chicago-ne Blackhawks

The Blackhawks, in case you haven’t noticed, will look a lot different from the team that Anaheim faced in the Windy City back on Feb. 7.

Captain Jonathan Toews is currently on injured reserve and Patrick Kane is not present with the team at this time while the pieces of a long-rumored deal to the New York Rangers are worked out. Jack Johnson was traded back to Colorado last night and Chicago also dealt defenseman Jake McCabe and forward Sam Lafferty to the Toronto Maple Leafs this morning, which leaves them in an even more vulnerable state.

Eakins remains adamant that Chicago is not a team that the Ducks can take lightly, even in their depleted state. “Just look at the standings. It’s not like we’re way above them. Both they and we are rebuilding teams and we’re definitely in the same weight class no matter who’s in the lineup.”

Gibson, who is quite familiar with the Blackhawks going back to the heated playoff series of the mid-2010s, had similar thoughts. “You can’t really think about (who’s in or out of the lineup), that’s on them.

Feb 7, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Anaheim Ducks center Isac Lundestrom (21) shoots on Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Petr Mrazek (34) during the first period at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

“We just kind of have to focus on how we play. “We’ve obviously played them a lot in the past (and) obviously their roster looks a lot different now. Whatever they have in the lineup, that’s who we prepare for, and that’s how we go about our business.”

“No matter where we both are in the standings, it’s people playing for jobs and people playing for their lives and there’s always a lot on the line,” said Terry, who missed the previous matchup with Chicago after suffering an injury the night before. “I think this time of year you see (chippier games) a lot more when you’re playing teams that aren’t necessarily around us but are on the bubble of playoffs.”

Sticking Together

Terry’s return from that injury coincided with a six-game losing streak being snapped. “It’s hard for me to kind of put my finger on (what changed in our game) because I wasn’t on the ice with them,” he said. “But for me, I just feel like there was more emotion in our game.”

Terry brought up the fact that both Simon Benoit and Sam Carrick engaged in fights during the Washington game and highlighted Nathan Beaulieu as someone who put his body on the line to block the shooting lanes.

“I think that game was kind of a reminder that we’re a team in here and we’re not gonna stop fighting no matter where we are on the standings. “We were able to get a win out of that game and I think we kind of just carried the ‘play for each other’ mentality into that next game (against Carolina). “I thought we played for each other and that’s what we’re just trying to keep going.”

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