The Anaheim Ducks
' slow start this season hasn't prevented the team's top line from continuing to wreak havoc on the opposition.
And the fact Ryan Getzlaf
, Bobby Ryan
and Corey Perry
have played together for the better part of three seasons now is the biggest reason.
"We've played together for parts of three seasons and especially last year, we really took off and flourished into a pretty dependable line," Perry told NHL.com. "We're trying to continue that this year -- we want to do it every year, actually. The chemistry is there."
Perry entered the weekend on a career-high nine-game point streak, during which he's accrued 8 goals and 13 points. The fifth-season right wing has notched points in 10 of his last 11 games, and has goals in six of the last seven. He leads the team with 12 goals; he didn't record his 12th goal last season until Jan. 17.
"We (Perry, Getzlaf and Ryan) are all friends off the ice and that kind of leads to things on the ice because you're able to realize tendencies," Perry said.
Getzlaf, meanwhile, is riding a nine-game point streak, with 12 assists and 13 points. His 15 assists this season are tied for sixth in the NHL. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Getzlaf, who almost is assured of a roster spot for Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver this February, is one of the premier power forwards in the game today.
Getzlaf, who centers the line, has sensed a comfort level skating between Perry and Ryan in recent seasons.
"It's the way chemistry kind of comes," Getzlaf said. "We're starting to get that more and more with all three of us. It takes a little adapting. Bobby's found a place there. He's been great. I may not know he's right beside the net, but I know he's back there somewhere so I can throw it and trust he's going to make the play -- whether it's a goal or whether we just keep control."
And speaking of Ryan, he's working on a four-game point-scoring streak of his own (2 goals, 4 points).
"My role was set for me before I even came to the team," Ryan said. "(Anaheim coach) Randy Carlyle
told me my job was to go get pucks back and give it to those guys (Getzlaf and Perry) and make sure I was on the forecheck quickly. I don't think it's changed that much, it's still kind of my thing.
"Once we get into the cycle I think we have a little more freedom to roam, but whenever I get the puck in the slot, usually I'm not really looking to pass, I'm just shooting."
Perry, who surpassed the 30-goal mark for the first time in 2008-09 while setting personal bests with 40 assists and 72 points, also has seen a more confident Ryan in recent weeks.
"He's a guy who controls the puck down low, goes and gets it and doesn't like to give it back, so he works well and likes to play behind the net," Perry said. "He's a big kid and we're a line that's a grinding line. He goes into the corners and cycles the puck and takes that to heart. He brings that added big body to the line."
Ryan admits it didn't take too long before he learned how to fit with Getzlaf and Perry.
"It wasn't too tough because all three of us kind of play the same style of game," he said. "We knew what to expect from each other. I think we just have to learn that we can't all have the puck all the time and have to work off of it a little more. That's the biggest thing for us -- all three of us had to learn how to play more of a supporting role for each other. But the chemistry was there because we were able to make plays for each other right away."
Their success hasn't slowed down, either.
Contact Mike Morreale at firstname.lastname@example.org.