Two significant franchise milestones are set to be achieved tonight when the Ducks host the Chicago Blackhawks at Honda Center. (5 p.m. PT, TV: FOX Sports West, Radio: AM 830). This marks the 2,000th game in Ducks franchise history, with the club posting a 953-777-269 record since its inaugural season in 1993-94. In addition, Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf is one game shy of becoming the first player in club history to reach the 1,000-game milestone.
Getzlaf will become just the sixth player in the last 40 NHL seasons to play his first 1,000 games with one franchise and win 548 (or more) of them (548-333-118). Drafted 16 years ago in the first round (19th overall) of the 2003 NHL Draft, Getzlaf, 34, will also become the eighth active player to appear in his first 1,000 career games with the same team, and the 53rd all-time (19th as a center). Getzlaf took over the all-time franchise lead in games played when he surpassed Corey Perry (988) on Oct. 11 at Columbus. Following Getzlaf (999) and Perry (988), Teemu Selanne ranks third in franchise appearances with 966, Cam Fowler ranks fourth (635) and Steve Rucchin ranks fifth (616).
Several of Getzlaf's teammates spoke of what it means to see their captain reach such a significant milestone.
"When you're the kind of player that's looked upon to make a difference, you're going to put yourself out there every night," said 39-year-old Ryan Miller. "Seeing how important he is to the team, I think he takes that upon himself to be available every night he can. To be there and be available 1,000 times in the regular season is pretty outstanding."
Miller adds, "It's been nice watching him. I got to know Getzy a little bit because my brother [Drew] was a teammate of his early on. It's been nice to go through his long career, and my career, too. Look across the ice to see somebody that's challenging to play against, and then come to Anaheim and enjoy having him around the room and enjoy being around his family. He's a big personality and he likes to have a lot of fun. You can see that on the ice. You have to suit up a lot of games not only feeling your best. You have to go out and compete."
"It's inspiring," said 25-year-old Devin Shore. "Especially just the style of game he's played for 1,000 games. Throughout his entire career, he's a guy that can beat you in a number of different ways. Whether it's his grit and size, or his skill and vision. The game and the style he's played for 1,000 games can't be easy on the body, so it just speaks to his tenacity and the way he's carried himself as a professional to take care of himself throughout his career.
Now 34 years of age, Getzlaf continues to be a difference maker for his team. He enters tonight's game riding a career-tying four-game goal streak (4g/1a), something he hasn't done in nearly 10 years (Dec. 16-22, 2009). He scored a dramatic game-winning goal on a breakaway in overtime two nights ago to give the Ducks a 2-1 OTW vs. Vancouver, and currently leads the club in power-play goals (2) and game-winning goals (4), and ranks tied for second in goals (7) and second in shots (37).
Since their debut season, the Ducks rank 10th among NHL teams in points (2,175), eighth in goals against per game (2.70) and tied for eighth in faceoff win percentage (50.7%). The Ducks are also just five games shy of 1,000 at Honda Center (537-327-131), with the milestone game set for Nov. 14 vs. San Jose.
With their victory over the Canucks on Friday, the Ducks are off to their second-best home start in franchise history at 6-1-0. This season's start at home trails only the 7-0 home start produced in 2013-14. The Ducks enter tonight's game co-leading the league in home wins and home points percentage (.857). Their overall record (9-6-0) also represents the club's best start through 15 games over the last five seasons.
They own an all-time record of 50-34-11 against the Blackhawks, including a 26-15-5 mark at Honda Center. They've gone 5-3-0 in the last eight meetings dating to March 9, 2017, and have won three of the last four at home, outscoring the Hawks 17-9. Getzlaf paces current Ducks in career scoring vs. Chicago with 33 points (8g/25a) in 43 games.