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Ryan Getzlaf has Ducks flying again

With 20 points in past 12 games, Anaheim captain leads surge to top of Pacific Division

by Lisa Dillman @reallisa / NHL.com Staff Writer

ANAHEIM -- Ryan Getzlaf and Patrick Eaves are separated by a year in age and have played against each other for the better part of the past decade, including the 2007 Stanley Cup Final.

But Eaves didn't fully realize how complete a player Getzlaf, the Anaheim Ducks captain, was until Eaves was acquired by the Ducks from the Dallas Stars on Feb. 24, five days before the NHL Trade Deadline.

Then he landed on Getzlaf's line.

"We've been playing against each other for a long time," said the 32-year-old Eaves, who was with the Ottawa Senators when they lost to the Ducks in the 2007 Cup Final. "I had a lot of respect for his game even before I got here. But then when you see how good he is on a daily basis, I'm very surprised at his 200-foot game.

"Just the way he can control a game, it's pretty cool."

Getzlaf's command of the game was evident when he had a season-high four assists in a 6-3 win against the New York Rangers at Honda Center on Sunday.

"He's our leader. He's the guy that should be driving the bus," Ducks center Ryan Kesler said. "It's great to see him playing like that."

 

[RELATED: Rangers-Ducks game recap]

 

The Ducks are 9-2-1 since coming out of their five-day break from Feb. 26-March 3, and the rest greatly benefited Getzlaf, who is 31. He has 20 points in his past 12 games.

"We came back with the mentality we were ready to push," Getzlaf said. "This is the time of year we want to be playing the way we are."

Eaves scored twice and Kesler had a goal and an assist Sunday for the Ducks (41-23-11), who are in first place by themselves in the Pacific Division. They lead the San Jose Sharks and the Edmonton Oilers by two points.

The Ducks also took advantage of a rusty Henrik Lundqvist and prevented the Rangers from clinching a playoff berth.

Lundqvist made his first start since March 7, when he sustained a hip injury and missed the next eight games. He is expected to start again at San Jose on Tuesday (10:30 p.m. ET; SNE, SNO, CSN-CA, MSG, NHL.TV).

"It was a back-to-back for them," Kesler said of the Rangers, who won 3-0 at the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. "They're a good team. We had their number tonight. Obviously with Henrik coming back, his first game, we took advantage of them."

Video: Getzlaf's four assists power Ducks past Rangers, 6-3

Though Lundqvist anticipated there could be rust in his first start, it didn't make handling the outcome any easier. Perhaps his best moment was a glove save on Rickard Rakell with 4:25 remaining in the first period.

"They put a lot of pucks toward the net," Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh said. "That's a big strength of theirs. We didn't do a good enough job of picking up sticks and clearing the puck there. We put Henrik in a tough spot for most of the night.

"He made some incredible saves to keep us in it and give us a chance."

Said Lundqvist, "Overall, I felt OK. There were a couple of reads I could do better, obviously on the odd-man rushes on how aggressive I should be and read that."

That was bound to happen after missing almost three weeks.

"You don't feel as comfortable with the reads," he said. "That's something hopefully feels better for each game here. They made some good plays. We made some mistakes where they cashed in.

"I felt good at the start of the game and the second goal and the fifth goal, some tough bounces against a good team. There's a lot of good things and definitely things that I can do better."

Video: NYR@ANA: Kesler tallies PPG on tip-in from the slot

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