April 26 2014 ISN – ANAHEIM, Calif. – Ryan Getzlaf hates missing hockey games, and the Anaheim Ducks just aren’t the same when their captain isn’t there.
After one agonizing playoff game away, Getzlaf came roaring back to put the Ducks in command of their series with Dallas.
Getzlaf had a goal and two assists in his return from injury, and the Ducks scored four power-play goals in a 6-2 victory over the Stars on Friday night to take a 3-2 lead in their first-round series.
Getzlaf became the Ducks’ career post-season scoring leader with a dynamic performance that betrayed no problems from his undisclosed upper-body injury — except maybe, he acknowledged, on a horrendous first-period giveaway to Jamie Benn for Dallas’ first goal.
“I thought I got better as the game went on,” Getzlaf said. “I felt more and more comfortable. The crowd was unbelievable. Everything was fired right up. They give us so much energy.”
Game 6 is Sunday in Dallas.
The Ducks captain, who got hit in the face with a slap shot in the series opener, now has 66 playoff points, surpassing Teemu Selanne’s 64 in franchise history.
Corey Perry also had a goal and two assists for the top-seeded Ducks, who broke open a tight game early in the third period and confidently moved to the brink of the second round after dropping the last two games in Dallas. Getzlaf and Perry led the way, putting Anaheim one win away from just its second playoff series victory since its only Stanley Cup title in 2007.
“Every time you get your captain back, it’s going to make you feel better,” Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It’s like your big brother is back. Guys felt a little more secure, and he came out and had a great game.”
Nick Bonino, Mathieu Perreault, Jakob Silfverberg and Rickard Rakell also scored for Anaheim, which set a franchise record for playoff power-play goals. The Ducks chased Kari Lehtonen with five goals on their first 21 shots.
Shawn Horcoff also scored for the Stars, who couldn’t score on seven power-play chances. Despite the lopsided final score, the Stars regretted a missed opportunity.
“The second period, we just utterly dominated,” Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said. “We hit post. We hit crossbar. Spent the whole time down in their end. It’s tough. We lost the special-teams battle, which was the difference tonight.”
Frederik Andersen made 34 saves after getting pulled from Game 4, but the Ducks gave him plenty of offensive cushion in a hard-hitting, whistle-filled game. Anaheim scored three goals in the first seven minutes of the third period and set a club playoff record for power-play goals, scoring at least one in every period.
Selanne also returned to the Ducks’ lineup after coach Bruce Boudreau kept him out of Game 4 as a healthy scratch, infuriating most of the Anaheim fan base.
The home team has won every game in this bad-tempered, physical series, and it got even uglier when Dallas forward Ryan Garbutt got a game misconduct in the first period of Game 5 for spearing Perry in the groin, leaving the Ducks’ top goal-scorer on the ice in agony during a line change.
“I was just coming back to the bench and got careless with my stick,” Garbutt said.
“It was deliberate,” Boudreau countered. “It wasn’t an accident. It was pretty dirty.”
After Bonino’s opening goal, Anaheim had a five-minute power play after Garbutt’s spearing penalty. After Getzlaf handed Benn his third goal of the series, the Ducks went back ahead 26 seconds later when Francois Beauchemin’s slap shot deflected off Rakell, the 20-year-old Swedish rookie appearing in just his second career playoff game.
Horcoff trimmed Anaheim’s lead with his first goal of the series on a loose puck in the slot. After the Ducks barely thwarted a prolonged Dallas push to close the second period, Silfverberg got his first goal of the series early in the third with a one-timer off a behind-the-net pass from Cogliano.
“I thought our second period was pretty good,” Benn said. “We came in here, tried to regroup and come out with the same effort, but they jumped on us early. We took a stupid penalty, and that was it.”
Getzlaf chased Lehtonen after Perry forced a turnover by Brenden Dillon. Perry then got the Ducks’ fourth power-play goal 2:19 later after Trevor Daley left him alone in front of Tim Thomas, the 2011 Conn Smythe Trophy winner with Boston.
NOTES: The Ducks scratched D Hampus Lindholm with a stiff neck and dressed D Luca Sbisa for the first time in the series. Boudreau praised Sbisa’s performance. … Dillon suited up for the Stars for the first time in the series after getting hurt late in the regular season. Dallas scratched D Patrik Nemeth, who got injured in Game 4. …. Rakell, who has 22 games of regular-season NHL experience, became the first player in Ducks history to score his first career goal in the post-season.