Sports Hockey


Ducks take control of series with Stars


Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry celebrates after scoring against the Dallas Stars during Game 2 of their first-round NHL playoff series at Honda Center. (Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports)

Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry celebrates after scoring against the Dallas Stars during Game 2 of their first-round NHL playoff series at Honda Center. (Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports)



ANAHEIM — Willa Getzlaf’s first photos with her dad could be a scary sight.

Just wait ’til she grows up and realizes how much her father, Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, frightened the Dallas Stars on the night of her arrival.

Even with countless stitches under his mouth and short on sleep after welcoming his newborn baby girl, Getzlaf was a difference-maker in Friday’s 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars at Honda Center, scoring on a terrific individual effort and assisting on the game-winner as the Ducks grabbed a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven series.

The action now shifts to Dallas for Monday’s Game 3 at American Airlines Center (7:30 p.m., TSN).

“With what’s happened to (Getzlaf) in the last three days, to come in and get two points and a plus-three rating is a sure reason why he’s, hopefully, nominated for the MVP,” marvelled Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau.

“He’s got a lot going on, obviously, with a having a baby and probably being about an inch away from breaking his jaw, but he responds,” added Ducks centre Andrew Cogliano, whose third-period shortie — assisted by Getzlaf — turned out to be the decisive snipe. “He shows up every night.”

If the 28-year-old didn’t show up Friday, nobody would have ripped him.

He was, after all, struck by a high shot in the final seconds of Wednesday’s Game 1 victory at Honda Center, with the evidence of a deep laceration now written all over his face.

When Ducks officials found out he was at the hospital in the wee hours of Friday morning, they could have assumed the negative x-rays didn’t reveal the true extent of the injury.

As it turns out, Getzlaf was with his wife, Paige, as the couple welcomed their third child — Willa — shortly after midnight.

“To tell you the truth, when I got hit (Wednesday) with the puck, I got into the training room, and the first thing I did is grab my phone and check to see if my wife went to the hospital,” Getzlaf said. “Fortunately enough, she didn’t, so I had time to go home that day and relax, and then we went in (Thursday) at about 10 p.m.

“It was a bit of an emotional thing. I was in there icing my face as she was trying to push a baby out.”

A hectic chain of events.

As he showed again in Game 2, a helluva player.

The sellout crowd of 17,426 fans at Honda Center for Friday’s contest went wild when Getzlaf was announced as a member of the home side’s starting lineup.

They were roaring again a few minutes later, when the 6-foot-4 pivot — with a partial shield protecting his face — bulldozed Stars defenceman Alex Goligoski into the side-boards on the first shift.

And when Getzlaf swiped the puck from Stars left-winger Erik Cole late in the first period, fended off his back-check as he waltzed toward the net and then roofed a shot over Kari Lehtonen’s glove?

Yeah, you guessed it ... The place was rocking.

Getzlaf added an assist on Cogliano’s controversial winner, celebrating as the Stars fumed over a non-call. The visitors were livid after the speedy penalty-killer busted Sergei Gonchar’s stick with a slash on the forecheck, leaving Gonchar with no weapon as he tried to defend Getzlaf’s pass from the high slot.

“I think the referee missed that penalty,” Gonchar said. “Those mistakes happen on their side, too.

“We have to keep focused and make sure we are playing the same way we’ve been playing in the third period.”

Stars pest Ryan Garbutt chipped a shot over Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen’s shoulder at the midway point of the final frame, but that’s the only goal the boys from the Big D could muster on 15 third-period shots.

Getzlaf’s sidekick, Corey Perry, also scored Friday for the Ducks, while Andersen was once again stellar in a 34-save performance.

Lehtonen made 16 stops for the Stars, who also got a goal from rookie right-winger Alex Chiasson on a first-period powerplay.

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