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Ryan Getzlaf can be 'beast' for Ducks

Anaheim needs another big effort from center against Oilers in Game 2

by Lisa Dillman @reallisa / NHL.com Staff Writer

ANAHEIM -- The best of Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf was on full display in Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.

He scored his Ducks-leading fourth goal of the playoffs, had an assist, blocked three shots and mixed it up with Oilers defenseman Andrej Sekera in the final seconds. With the Oilers finishing a 5-3 win, perhaps it was an attempt at sending a message for Game 2 at Honda Center on Friday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).

"Sometimes, he's just a beast," linemate Nick Ritchie said Thursday. "He takes it upon himself. He's just the leader of this team."

Beast and best.

"Sometimes he just decides when we need it and it's time and takes over the game and everyone else follows," Ritchie said.

 

[RELATED: Complete Ducks vs. Oilers series coverage]

 

"He's done that in a lot of games, especially down the stretch. He's going to be a beast for us moving forward. He does a little bit of everything."

That will be a necessity with the Ducks having suffered their first loss of the postseason and losing for the first time in regulation in 19 games dating to March 10.

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle has described their penalty kill as porous in the playoffs, and Anaheim allowed two more power-play goals in Game 1.

"It's a good test," Getzlaf said after the loss Wednesday. "Again, we've dealt with it properly in the last little while. I expect nothing else from our group than to come to work and be ready for the next one."

Video: EDM@ANA, Gm1: Getzlaf rips a wrist shot for PPG

Another possible test will be playing without veteran defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who sustained a lower-body injury Wednesday. Carlyle said Bieksa was doubtful for Game 2 and there might be an update on his status by Friday. Defenseman Sami Vatanen (upper-body injury), who has not played since Game 1 of the first round against the Calgary Flames, said he is "pretty close" to returning.

Getzlaf has been a consistent playoff performer with 106 points (33 goals, 73 assists) in 109 games. He tied Corey Perry on Wednesday for the second-most playoff goals in Anaheim history behind Teemu Selanne (35).

"He's world-class," said Oilers forward Mark Letestu, who scored two power-play goals in Game 1. "The guy is an Olympian, a heck of a player. 

"I don't think it's just special for the Oilers. He gives everybody a hard time."

Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano, who started his NHL career in Edmonton, can speak from experience, having played with and against Getzlaf.

"He's a guy that drives this bus and when he does our team follows him very well," Cogliano said. "He needs to make it hard on them. There's no one in the League that enjoys playing against him.

"Not only offensively can he beat you, but he's tough and he gets in your face and he's not going to take it from anyone. So we're looking for him to keep doing what he's been doing and he's been great."

Getzlaf might have that snarl on the ice, but he is different off of it.

"He's laid-back," Cogliano said. "He approaches the game a little bit different than most guys -- I think he just likes being in the moment, laying low to save his energy. I don't blame him.

"That's what you've got to do in playoffs. If you get too worked up and you overanalyze things, you get to the game and you can't play because you get too tired."

The approach seems to work for Getzlaf.

"[He's] definitely one of the easiest and best guys to play with there is," Ritchie said.

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