ANAHEIM – It’s been a heck of a last three days for one Ryan James Getzlaf.
The Ducks captain took a puck to the face in the waning seconds of Wednesday’s Game 1 that caused a deep gash which required multiple stitches, then welcomed his third child to the world late Thursday night and scored a big goal in Anaheim’s 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars in tonight’s Game 2 at Honda Center.
Getzlaf (wearing a clear protective face mask tonight) scored Anaheim’s first goal, assisted on another and watched his teammates make a big kill on a penalty he took late in the game as the Ducks took a two-games-to-none lead in this opening round series.
"Every once and a while, you need your best players to step it up when the rest of the guys lose their composure," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "Getzy, with what’s happened to him in the last three days, to come in and get two points and a plus-3 rating, is a sure reason why he’s hopefully nominated for the MVP."
Dating back to the regular season, Anaheim has won six in a row.
"We didn’t start the way we wanted to in the first 10 minutes," Getzlaf said. "We let them come at us, and you can’t do that in playoff hockey. We weathered the storm and got going after that."
Similar to Game 1, the Ducks got out in front and had to hang on for dear life down the stretch, as they went without a shot on goal in the final 13:20 of the game. The tensest moments came when Getzlaf was called for a tripping penalty (that he did not care for) on Kevin Connauton with three minutes left in the game. Dallas sent goalie Kari Lehtonen to the bench to create a 6-on-4 advantage, but the Ducks deftly killed it and (with Getzlaf’s help) shut down the Stars over an anxious final minute.
Much of the credit for that went to rookie Frederik Andersen, who earned his second straight victory in the series with an artful 34-save performance.
Dallas got on the board first on the power play 7:40 into the game after a retaliatory slashing penalty on Corey Perry. The Stars quickly cashed in, as Jamie Benn fed Alex Chiasson, who banged it home from the right circle.
Anaheim tied it with 2:42 left in the first when Getzlaf knocked down an Erik Cole pass, then withstood Cole’s harassment to skate in and roof the puck from point blank.
"What a great play by him stealing the puck and being a beast going to the net," said Perry. "That’s the type of player he is, and he showed us what he can do."
The Ducks took the lead with 3:45 left in the second when Perry took the puck from Jamie Benn and hammered a slap shot from the right wing. For Perry, who went without scoring in last season’s playoffs, it was the first postseason goal since April 20, 2011 against Nashville.
A major turning point in the game came five minutes into the third, as the Ducks were trying to kill off a Perry delay of game penalty. Andrew Cogliano got the puck to Getzlaf in the Dallas end, and Getzlaf gave it back to Cogliano, who fired it top corner for the shorthanded goal and a 3-1 Ducks lead.
"Getzy made a great play, and I was able to put it upstairs," Cogliano said. "It’s probably one of the biggest goals of my career. He made a great play, and it ended up being the game winner. It was nice."
Dallas climbed within a goal halfway through the third when Shawn Horcoff’s shot from the corner caromed off Andersen, and Ryan Garbutt flipped it through from the slot.
But that was it for the scoring from both sides the rest of the way, as a sellout crowd of 17,426 loudly saluted the Ducks over those arduous final few minutes.
The series now shifts to Dallas for Games 3 (Monday) and 4 (Wednesday).