A captain’s job has many duties. The most important one is to lead, and that is exactly what Ryan Getzlaf has been doing for the Anaheim Ducks.
In Game 1 of the series against Dallas, Getzlaf took a puck to the face with about :15 seconds remaining in the game. Definitely not the preferred way to block a shot. The doctors lost count of the number of stitches it took to sew him back up again and the dentist has a lot fewer teeth to clean. Miss a game? Heck no.
Add a baby girl born in the wee hours of Thursday night/Friday morning (joining two big brothers in the family) and you get some sleep deprivation thrown in with the pain killers. Getzlaf actually showed up for the morning skate. Coach Bruce Boudreau sent him home to nap.
Must have been a pretty good nap, because in Game 2 on Friday night, Getzlaf led and inspired with a goal and an assist in the 3-2 victory, all while wearing a lovely footballesque helmet to protect his face.
“Every once and a while, you need your best players to step it up when the rest of the guys lose their composure,” Boudreau observed. “Getzy, with what’s happened to him in the last three days, to come in and get two points and a plus-3 rating, is a sure reason why he’s hopefully nominated for the MVP.”
Dallas, who had made a late push in Game 1, came out with the same enthusiasm in Game 2.
A power play goal from Alex Chiasson at 7:40 of the first period was the Stars reward and gave them their first lead in the series. At least until Getzlaf scored at 17:14, having intercepted the puck from the Stars and putting it in past Kari Lehtonen.
“What a great play by him stealing the puck and being a beast going to the net,” said Corey Perry. “That’s the type of player he is, and he showed us what he can do.”
The Stars turned over the puck again and this time it was Perry who said ‘thank you very much.’ Perry did not hesitate in putting the puck in the net at 16:15 of the middle frame, his fist playoff goal since 2011 against Nashville.
In the third period, Anaheim got a short handed goal from Andrew Cogliano at 5:09 to give them a 3-1 lead. They needed it, because it would be the eventual game winner. And they only had one more shot in the rest of the period.
Meanwhile, the rest of the third period was all Dallas and Frederik Andersen. Dallas had 15 shots on goal in the third period alone and Andersen stopped every one of them except Ryan Garbutt’s bid at 9:58.
Once again, it was a one goal game with the Stars coming hard from every single angle. And once again, Andersen made the key saves, 34 in all, to preserve Anaheim’s lead and give them their second victory in a row.
“In a lot of games, you might think we’ll break, but you see the sacrifice — many mistakes as we were making — the lack of shots, getting in lanes, the goalie getting saves we do the things it takes to get a win,” said Boudreau.
So now the Ducks lead the series 2-0, but there is still a long way to go.
“I’ll give you a very boring answer, we’re up 2-0, that’s all we’ve done,” said Getzlaf “We’ve got two wins and we need four. The next one is the biggest one we can go after.”
That happens on Wednesday night in Dallas. Game 4 is also in Dallas, on Friday night.
If the captain keeps leading and Andersen keeps saving, there just might be a chance of getting out of the first round.