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Getzlaf credits Ducks' success for Hart nomination

by Curtis Zupke

ANAHEIM -- When Corey Perry won the Hart Trophy in 2011, it was thought to light a fire under longtime friend and Anaheim Ducks linemate Ryan Getzlaf. It took a slightly longer than expected, but Getzlaf truly took ownership of his captaincy this season.

That was confirmed Thursday when Getzlaf was announced as one of three finalists for the Hart Trophy, given to the NHL's most valuable player. Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers are the other nominees.

Getzlaf's nomination comes two seasons after he endured his worst in the NHL, and it could give the Ducks two Hart winners on the same line.

"You don't really think of guys out here winning the Hart," Perry said. "If it could happen two times in a couple of years, it says something about hockey out here."

Perry scored 50 goals in 2010-11. Getzlaf's impact this season was more diverse. He was second in the NHL in scoring (87 points) and tied for second among forwards in blocked shots (87). Known earlier in his career for taking fighting majors, Getzlaf had 31 penalty minutes, his fewest since his rookie season in 2005-06.

Getzlaf became a 30-goal scorer (31) for the first time and had a 14-game point streak in November and December.

Getzlaf was typically deflective of the individual attention and said his numbers were a byproduct of Anaheim's depth. Perry was fifth in scoring (82).

"Pucks went in the net and goalies were nice to me this year," Getzlaf said. "I don't know. It's one of those years. Our team success, and the way the guys play around me, enabled our line to get a little more free. Teams couldn't focus as much on just playing us. And, this year, me and [Perry] have worked well together. It's been a great year."

The intangibles contributed to Getzlaf's captaincy, at least in the eyes of his teammates. He missed four games because of injury in the regular season and came back from a puck to the face in Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round series against the Dallas Stars that required 50-100 stitches.

Getzlaf returned for Game 2 and had a goal and an assist on little sleep after his third child was born early that morning.

The Ducks open the Western Conference Second Round at home against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN).

"He's the guy that, when he's on top of his game -- both on and off the ice -- he's what makes us tick," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Perry's right there. He's won the Hart before. But the other guys, they all look up to them. He's taken that whole leadership thing by the throat, and he's ran with it and he's done a great job.

"You can't get too many better candidates than Ryan Getzlaf for what the team accomplished this year and what he was involved in when the team accomplished it. Good luck to him. I know those two guys are great, but I got to believe he's as good as any of them."

Getzlaf is the fourth player in Anaheim history to be named a Hart finalist, joining Perry, Teemu Selanne in 1997-98 and Paul Kariya in 1996-97. Seven other players from California teams have been a Hart finalist.

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