The storylines could not have unfolded much more neatly for the Anaheim Ducks in a 3-2 win against the Dallas Stars on Friday night at Honda Center. The Ducks took a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference First Round series. Game 3 is Monday at American Airlines Center (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN, KDOC, TXA 21).
"Every once in a while you need your best players to step it up when the rest of the guys are losing their composure a little bit," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "[Getzlaf], with what's happened to him in the last three days, and to come and get two points, and a plus-3, is a sure reason why he's hopefully going to be nominated for the MVP."
Cogliano got what proved to be the game-winner when he scored a shorthanded goal at 5:09 of the third. He tied up defenseman Sergei Gonchar behind the Dallas net and roofed Getzlaf's return pass for his first career Stanley Cup Playoffs goal.
The day ultimately belonged to captain Getzlaf, who welcomed his third child, daughter Willa, early Friday morning, nearly 24 hours after he received numerous stitches for a deep laceration on his face from a Tyler Seguin slap shot in Game 1.
He went to the hospital when his wife, Paige, went into labor.
"I was in there icing my face as she was trying to push a baby out," Getzlaf said.
He said he didn't get to save the puck for his new daughter.
"They don't give them to me, ever," Getzlaf said. "I'll probably grab one for her, that's for sure. This afternoon I was able to go over and see her again and hold her for a couple of minutes, and obviously it worked out tonight. Our guys played great."
Getzlaf, wearing a partial cage, fulfilled the heroic storyline with a first-period goal that revived Anaheim after a weak start. He knocked down Erik Cole's pass, drove the right side and snapped the puck high to the short side past Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen at 17:14.
"That's what he's done his whole career - in big games he's made big plays," Perry said of Getzlaf. "He's a leader on this team for a reason."
Perry grabbed a Dallas turnover and unleashed a slap shot that beat Lehtonen to the stick side at 16:15 of the second period to put the Ducks ahead to stay. Perry was under the microscope when he went scoreless in seven games of last season's conference quarterfinals loss to the Detroit Red Wings, and the pressure was mounting. His previous postseason goal was almost three years ago to the day, on April 20, 2011. He appeared to let out a big yell in his celebration.
"It's exciting when you finally get one and you get that monkey off your back," Perry said.
The downside for Anaheim was another late-game lapse after the Ducks nearly blew a 4-0 lead in Game 1. Asked about his team's sense of when to close out a game, Boudreau said, "I wish they'd do it sooner. I do think that in a lot of games we bend, but we don't break.
"You see sacrifice going on at the end. As many mistakes as we were making, giveaways and turnovers that were unforced; we're blocking shots and getting in the lanes and doing the things that are necessary to win, and the goalie is making the big save at the end. I'd like to play different. I'd like it not to come down to that, but I think that's what it is."
The line of Getzlaf, Perry and Devante Smith-Pelly also did a terrific defensive job on Dallas' top line. Seguin had three shots, and Benn's one shot came in the final minute. Seguin's errant pass to Benn led to Perry's goal.
Dallas coach Lindy Ruff put Alex Chiasson at right wing in place of Valeri Nichushkin on the top line to provide scoring depth, and Nichushkin did not have a shot on goal playing with Cody Eakin and Cole
Ruff is guiding an inexperienced playoff team but he sees improvement. The Stars outshot the Ducks 15-2 in the third period. Dallas pulled Lehtonen for an extra attacker but Nick Bonino got a big faceoff win and obstructed a shot at the left point in the final seconds.
Andersen helped the Ducks weather pushes by the Stars in the opening minutes and late in the second period.
"We didn't capitalize on some of their big mistakes, which was the difference," Ruff said. "But I actually like where our team was at, the pressure they were putting on. There was a lot to like. We missed the net on a couple of big mistakes and you got to give them credit. We handed them a couple. They didn't have a lot but what we handed them, they took advantage of."
Dallas outshot Anaheim 7-1 to start the game and took the lead on Chiasson's power-play goal, his first career playoff goal, at 7:40 of the first period. It was the Stars' fourth consecutive goal of the series.
"I think we started better, definitely," Gonchar said. "But it doesn't matter. We have to make sure to keep playing like this. All game, 60 minutes is what counts. I think we have to be consistent with that."