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New York Islanders Anaheim Ducks John Gibson’s Weakness

ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 10: Goaltender John Gibson #36 of the Anaheim Ducks defends against the Edmonton Oilers in Game Seven of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center on May 10, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 10: Goaltender John Gibson #36 of the Anaheim Ducks defends against the Edmonton Oilers in Game Seven of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center on May 10, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Coming off a tough loss to the Nashville Predators and a three-day break since that games it’s not getting easier for the New York Islanders. They play the Anaheim Ducks who have one of the hottest goalies in the game right now.

The New York Islanders loss against the Nashville Predators on October 13th was tough to take. Not because the Preds stole the game from the Isles. But because the Isles didn’t play a full 60. Had they, they might have been more competitive than the 5-2 scoreline indicated.

When the Islanders showed up to play in the second period they scored two goals and put themselves back into the game after falling behind 3-0 in the first frame.

When they showed up, the Islanders were a threat to score. The guy between the pipes for the Predators, Juuse Saros, didn’t put up much of a fight. Even though the Preds won 5-2 he had a 0.909SV%

Against the Anaheim Ducks, the New York Islanders will face one of better keepers in the game right now. Even if they show up for 60 minutes they’ll have to figure out a way through

John Gibson

. A goalie that had a 2.00GAA and 0.951SV% against the Isles last season.

The Weakness in the Wall

Through five games John Gibson has a 3-1-1 record with a 2.07GAA and a 0.944SV% with one shutout. There isn’t much wrong with Gibson’s game. He’s a solid goalie, he’s calm under pressure, and he can steal a game for his team when they need him to.

But obviously, no goalie is perfect. Every one of them has a weakness. For John Gibson, it just might be his post-to-post game when tracking pucks in the slot.

Leading up to the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, NHL.com previewed both goalies in the opening round series between the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks; John Gibson and Martin Jones.

In their review of John Gibson, they wrote that the Ducks keeper wasn’t like most goalies when it came to playing cross slot passes. Unlike most goalies, Gibson played the pass on his knees rather than standing.

"One noticeable trend on these plays was how often Gibson slid across on his knees laterally on passes close to the top of the face-off circles, an area where a lot of goalies would try to beat plays up on their skates. Even though he beat most of the plays across, the sliding created more exposure high […]"

Gibson isn’t a small goalie, but he’s not the tallest either. At 6’2″ he’s no Ben Bishop or Robin Lehner. He still takes up a lot of space, but some of the taller boys cover up more of the net even when on their knees. Unlike Gibson.

When on his knees, Gibson leaves gaps at the top of the net. And there’s one particular area where he seems to be the weakest. High-glove side.

Along with their analysis of Gibson’s playing style is an infographic of where 100 goals were scored on Gibson. Of the 100 goals scored that were tracked high glove side accounted for 25 percent of the goals scored.

Now, they note that it doesn’t mean that Gibson has a weak glove. But putting the two together, the lateral movement when tracking cross-slot passes and the spaces it leaves with the volume that he let in high-glove paints a good picture of a weakness.

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The New York Islanders should look to create down low and get Gibson to commit to the butterfly before taking advantage of the top of the net.  Obviously, take the opportunities offered, but this should be the Islanders primary strategy to getting a few pucks passed John Gibson.

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