Anaheim's captain has been the subject of trade rumors and tremendous scrutiny because of his disappointing season. He entered Friday's game against the New York Islanders with just two goals since Oct. 29 and a minus-19 rating.
Getzlaf delivered an emphatic response when he roofed a terrific backhander past Evgeni Nabokov with 7:35 remaining to break a third-period tie and lift Anaheim to a 4-2 victory.
Getzlaf let go with the fist after he ended a personal 12-game goal drought.
"It was like a playoff game," Getzlaf said. "It was a good feeling. We've been working really hard the last little bit here and trying to get results. Tonight was one of those nights where we were able to. It's a relief, but there is a task at hand."
It was precisely what Anaheim needed in a season that was getting worse by the game. The Ducks recorded only their second win in nine games thanks to Getzlaf and an impressive two-goal performance by Bobby Ryan to cap a stellar night by its top line -- the third member, Corey Perry, had two assists
Ryan scored a highlight-reel, game-tying shorthanded goal at 9:22 of the third with an outside-inside move past Andrew MacDonald. After Getzlaf put Anaheim ahead, Teemu Selanne added his 12th goal at 17:06 -- and his kids set the tone of a happy dressing room with a playful game of ball hockey.
"It's refreshing – we haven't heard our win song in a while," Ryan said. "It's two points and a starting point so hopefully we can string some things together here and move forward. It was definitely like a monkey off our back."
The subject of his own trade rumors, Ryan has four goals in five games. His latest streak and his line's performance could go a ways toward securing their future in Anaheim.
"The speculation between the three of us over the past month, week, whatever it is, has been exhausting," said Ryan, who defended his captain.
"You don't want to say it's a statement game (for Getzlaf) but it was … It's nice to see him get rewarded because he's putting in the work, doing the right things and those are things that people don't see."
Getzlaf acknowledged what the past few weeks been like for him.
"Terrible," he said. "It has been for me and I'm sure for a lot of other people in our organization. It's one of those things I can't explain. If I had an explanation for it, I would have fixed it long before it happened tonight. This is still one game."
The game turned on a great stop by Jonas Hiller on PA Parenteau at the Ducks doorstop during an Islanders power play that could have put New York up 3-1.
"I don't think anyone realized the magnitude of it at the time because it happened so fast," Ryan said.
Seconds later, Ryan got the puck from Perry and weaved past MacDonald and Nabokov with his signature reach, stretching past the goaltender to slide the puck into the net.
"I just tried a one-on-one move and tried to get back to my forehand," Ryan said. "Generally I miss those. It's nice to pull one back to my forehand get one to go. It was huge. You could the emotion on the ice between us."
The Islanders came to Honda Center riding a three-game winning streak and looked like they would make it four in a row when Kyle Okposo one-timed a slick feed from John Tavares into a half-empty net at 6:20 of the third period for a 2-1 lead. Francois Beauchemin's tripping penalty 75 seconds later gave the Islanders a chance to take a two-goal lead, but Hiller stoned Parenteau twice before Ryan's shorthanded goal tied the game.
Ryan opened the scoring at 14:18 by backhanding a rebound past Nabokov. But the Ducks, who've struggled to hold leads all season, again couldn't stand prosperity. Hiller was guarding his right post but Matt Martin slipped the puck through and watched it come to a stop on the goal line. He skated around the net and reached for the puck with his stick, only to see Hiller nudge it into the net.
But the Islanders' power play, which was 4 for 5 in its previous two games, went 0 for 3 and gave up Ryan's shorthanded goal.
"Special teams was a factor tonight, for sure," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "Obviously you want to close it out, but again it's a four-on-four goal, a shorthanded goal. It was a skilled play."
Capuano played the defense pairing of MacDonald and Travis Hamonic against the Ryan-Getzlaf-Perry trio for most of the night while mixing and matching forward lines. It didn't help.
"They have one of the best lines in hockey," Martin said. "It ended up costing us and it's something we have to learn from. We can't give a line like that that much time in our end. We have to get pucks deep against them. We can't have turnovers. You see what happens when you give them time and space."
The Islanders lost more than the game because center Marty Reasoner suffered a broken right hand when he blocked a shot early in the second period and did not return.
The Islanders held an 8-3 shot advantage after a scoreless first period, although the squads combined for three hit posts.
Anaheim enforcer George Parros was scratched with a strained groin. Also, promising rookie Devante Smith-Pelly, who suffered a broken foot for Team Canada in the World Junior Championship, returned to Anaheim for rehabilitation.
1 - 0 ANA
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 NYI
2 - 2 Tie
3 - 2 ANA
4 - 2 ANA
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