If there is anyone who is wearing the grind, wear and tear of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on their face right now, it’s Ryan Getzlaf.
The scars the Ducks captain has earned on his mug over the years are evident in the aftermath of a second straight disappointing loss to the Kings in his playoff series. The most recent one – the zipper-like, stitched-up cut near the left side of his mouth suffered in Game 1 of the previous round – is slightly obscured by the seedlings of a playoff beard.
Yet Getzlaf remained his level-headed self as he talked to reporters following today’s practice at Honda Center, with his Ducks down 2 games to none in this already-intense series with rival LA. In the locker room last night, just minutes after the final horn of a tough 3-1 defeat in Game 2, Getzlaf had the presence of mind to use the relatively tame word “ticked” to describe his emotions.
“I’m not allowed to use other words,” he cracked to a gathering of media today.
“But I was mad,” he continued, “and I’m still mad. I want to win, and when we don’t win, I get mad. That’s just the nature of my well-being.”
Asked how he slept last night after the game, Getzlaf responded like a guy with three kids under three, including a daughter born just last month. “My normal sleep,” he said, “isn’t very long anyway. Don’t worry.”
Getzlaf admitted that while the ups and downs of a team during the postseason falls on everybody on the roster, he shoulders a good portion of the responsibility.
“Anytime our team is down, I want to do more,” said Getzlaf, who leads the team with 10 points in seven postseason games. “I’ve got to try and find a way to do some different things but stay within my game.
“But it’s not all about me. I’m not going to go out and win Game 3 by myself, that’s for sure. The story of our season has been our depth in our lineup, and we need everybody pushing from top to bottom, all the way through. We all need to be better. We need to find a way to win hockey games.”
It’s desperation time for the Ducks, who somewhat unexpectedly find themselves in a 2-0 hole, despite outplaying the Kings for the majority of Games 1 and 2.
“We talked a little bit about it last night, as well as today,” Getzlaf said. “In the playoffs, you’ve got to be better than the guy across from you. If he’s playing great, you’ve got to be better than that. That’s how you find a way to win.
“We’re playing well enough to be in the hockey games. We’re in a tight series, and one bounce either way is the way the game goes. It’s our responsibility to make those breaks ours.”
Now Anaheim faces a must-win Game 3 at Staples Center, where they beat the Kings in their only two meetings there this season. Yet, Getzlaf knows it’s never an easy place to play, no matter the circumstances.
“That’s a tough building to play in,” said Getzlaf, who has 15 points in 25 career games at Staples Center. “We’re going to go in there in a hostile environment, and it’s going to be an exciting hockey game. We’re excited about it.”