ANAHEIM – Ryan Getzlaf
has gotten in the habit of making triumphant returns from injury in this series, and tonight he came back to lift the Ducks to a definitive 6-2 victory over the Stars in Game 5 at Honda Center.
Getzlaf, who missed a Game 4 defeat in Dallas with an undisclosed injury, had a goal and two assists as the Ducks took a 3-games-to-2 lead in a tense series that has so far been kind to the home team.
The Ducks looked strong in Games 1 and 2 at Honda Center, then dropped Games 3 and 4 in Dallas and rebounded dramatically with another offensive onslaught tonight. That included tying the team playoff records for goals with six and shattering the mark for power-play goals with four. Meanwhile, Anaheim killed all seven Dallas power-play opportunities.
"Every time you get your captain back, it’s going to make you feel better," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau of Getzlaf. "It’s like your big brother is back. Guys felt a little more secure, and he came out and played a really great game, as well as the other guys."
Getzlaf, who suffered facial injuries after taking a puck to the face in the closing moments of Game 1, came back in Game 2 with a goal and an assist to propel the Ducks to victory.
"I thought I got better as the game went on," Getzlaf said. "I felt more and more comfortable. The crowd was unbelievable. Everything was fired right up. They give us so much energy when we come out and we have that kind of support with us."
Entering the third period tonight with a precarious one-goal lead, Anaheim exploded for three unanswered (on only four shots) in the first 6:49 to put the game away. Jakob Silfverberg got things started 1:07 into the period, banging home a nice backhand feed by Andrew Cogliano from behind the net.
Getzlaf made it 5-2 a few minutes later, as Corey Perry stripped the puck away from Brenden Dillon in the corner and swiftly fed Getzlaf for the one-timer.
Tim Thomas replaced Kari Lehtonen in goal for Dallas, and the Stars took a penalty soon afterward. Perry quickly made things happen himself when he picked up the puck all alone outside the left post, evaded a desperation diving poke check by Thomas and slid the puck in around him.
The Ducks opened the scoring tonight with the first of their quartet of power-play goals 5:32 into the game, as Nick Bonino slipped around Jordie Benn and tucked a wrist shot inside the right post as he was falling down.
A little more than nine minutes into the period came one of the more pivotal plays of the game, as Ryan Garbutt speared Perry in the midsection (and possibly below the belt) during a line change. Perry headed to the locker room, but soon returned, and Garbutt was handed a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
But it was Dallas that first cashed in after the penalty, as Getzlaf carelessly lost the puck in his own end, and Jamie Benn picked it up and slid it between Frederik Andersen’s pads.
After he struggled in Game 4 in Dallas, Andersen had 34 saves tonight to earn his third win in the series. "He made the saves he had to make at the right time," Boudreau said. "When they were pushing and it was 2-1 or 3-2, he stood tall. That’s what good goalies do. I’m happy for him that he was able to come back in a tough atmosphere and do what he did."
The Ducks got their second power-play goal with 9:34 left, as a Francois Beauchemin slap shot from the point was just barely tipped through by rookie Rickard Rakell. The 20-year-old Swede became the first player in Ducks history to score his first career goal in the playoffs.
An Alex Goligoski goalie interference call late in the first opened the door for a third Ducks power-play goal a minute into the second, as Getzlaf made a silky feed on the rush to Mathieu Perreault for the one-timer.
But Dallas made it 3-2 with 11:41 left in the period as Vernon Fiddler’s shot from the circle kicked off Andersen, and Shawn Horcoff swept in the rebound.
That score was a distant memory after the Ducks completely dominated the early part of the final period. "Tonight, to get a big goal to start the period and get Lehtonen out of the net was a big confidence boost for us," Cogliano said. "It was a picture-perfect third period for us."
Things got a little out of hand with 12:20 left in the game, as a major brawl resulted in 11 penalties between the two teams, including four misconducts.
The increasingly combative series shifts back to Dallas for Game 6, where the Stars will look to even things up in a building where they’ve looked comfortable so far this round.
"It’s about maintaining our focus," Getzlaf said. "When we got to Dallas last time, we got a little revved up and got into some things that weren’t part of our game. Tonight, we did a better job of focusing on what we need to do, and we need to do that next game."