On this night, Ryan Getzlaf can also go by Captain Clutch. Skating in his 999th career NHL game, Getzlaf delivered the game-winning goal in sudden death, capping off a thrilling 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks at Honda Center.
Sneaking behind the Canucks defense in 3-on-3 play, Getzlaf found himself in all alone on Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom. Once Getzlaf got close enough, Markstrom lunged with a desperation pokecheck. Realizing this, Getzlaf faked to the backhand and tucked the puck into a wide-open cage to send a crowd of 15,173 into a frenzy. It improved the Ducks' record to 9-6-0 overall, and an eye-opening 6-1-0 on home ice.
Getzlaf says he knew exactly what needed to be done once Markstrom went for the all-or-nothing lunge. "Panic sets in," he says. "Try and get around him. That's the only play there obviously when he's coming out is to make sure I get that puck as wide as I can and then it's easy from there."
In order to get the two points, the Ducks relied heavily on goaltender John Gibson tonight. The 26-year-old netminder delivered a spectacular 39-save effort, including several key, game-preserving stops in overtime. The only blemish on his stat sheet tonight came off a goal from Adam Gaudette at the 13:42 mark of the third period that evened the score at one goal apiece. "It's my job. I'm the goalie," said Gibson, who improved to 6-6-0 this season. "Gotta save the shots, whether it's 10 or 50, so I'm used to it."
The Ducks limited the Canucks to a single goal tonight, snapping Vancouver's streak of five-plus goals in four straight games. Leading-scorer Elias Pettersson was also held off the score sheet, ending a season-long five-game point streak. With the win, the Ducks improved to 52-40-19 all-time vs. the Canucks, including a staggering 21-5-4 in their last 30 contests. Getzlaf entered the game ranked third among active NHL skaters in career scoring vs. Vancouver, and now has 50 points (15g/35a) in 53 games.
Though the Ducks came up empty on four power-play opportunities, they struck first when Jakob Silfverberg finished off an impressive sequence that ended with him going top shelf on Markstrom at the 13:28 mark of the first period. The play started with Rickard Rakell hounding Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes on the forecheck. After the puck came loose, Silfverberg pounced on it and buried his shot for his seventh goal of the season. With the shorthanded goal, Silfverberg surpassed Sammy Pahlsson (13) for fifth on the franchise's all-time SHP list.
Video: VAN@ANA: Silfverberg roofs a crafty shorthanded goal
Aside from Silfverberg's goal, the opening 20 minutes were controlled mostly by the Canucks. Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins says it's an area his club needs to improve in a hurry. "We certainly weren't ready to start," Eakins said. "For whatever reason, we came out of the gate slow and we were actually anticipating a much better start after a couple good days of practice. We were able to hold the fort, especially with Gibby."
Getzlaf adds, "We need to start on time, that's our focus right now. Coming out of that one, that's our mentality going into tomorrow and into Sunday's (game). We gotta start starting games on time. We're doing too much in the first period that's uncharacteristic of our group right now."
The lead held until Gaudette's tally late in the third, which eventually paved the way for Anaheim's first overtime of the season. After Troy Terry corralled the puck behind his own goal, he spotted Getzlaf just outside the far blueline. Terry zipped an aerial pass that Getzlaf batted down, and the 34-year-old center raced into the zone and scored his club-record 10th career overtime goal (54th career GWG).
Video: VAN@ANA: Getzlaf beats Markstrom for overtime winner
It marked the Ducks' second consecutive victory and pushed them into third place in the Pacific Division (tied in points with Vancouver).
The victory came on Día de los Muertos Night at Honda Center, which included a Spanish-only radio broadcast of the game with veteran broadcasters Erwin Higueros (play-by-play) and Jesús Zárate (analyst) providing the call. The broadcast was heard on AnaheimDucks.com and the Ducks screen of the NHL mobile app for iOS and Android.
Below are the calls from both Ducks goals, beginning with Silfverberg's shorthanded tally.
The Ducks will continue their seven-game homestand on Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks.