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Ducks deliver again for fourth win in row

Suddenly, almost all of the 16,609 fans were on their feet in a deafeningly display of emotion for a Ducks squad that was finally living up to their vast expectations.

Sure, they had just packed the penalty box with three skaters early in the third period, with two of the minors sloppy delay-of-game infractions for lifting the puck over the glass.

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But none of that mattered at this moment.

Ryan Getzlaf, fresh out of the penalty box, flipped the puck out of the zone, over the defense and raced through center ice.

He was met at the hash marks by Dallas Stars goalie Ben Bishop, but Getzlaf's reach was longer and the captain slung it into the empty net as the Ducks, somehow, someway, killed off two-plus minutes of five-on-three ice time early in the third period.

What a play it was, and what a moment for a Ducks team that's battled adversity all season.

It took them 62 games in all, but with the 2-0 victory over the Stars on Wednesday, the Ducks finally reeled off a four-game winning streak and they're now playing their best hockey at the most opportune time of the season.

"It felt great other than the fact I was celebrating by myself and I didn't know what to do," Getzlaf said with a laugh. "You look at my celebration, it was a little awkward.

"This is when we want to be playing our best. I thought we've been playing really well defensively these last couple of games."

And this performance was yet another strong one against a Western Conference foe jockeying for position with precious few points separating the pack.

Namely, it was goaltender Ryan Miller who staved off the Stars' power play (4:08 of penalty kill time in the third period) with plenty of tremendous saves and excellent positioning.

The backup — playing in place of the injured John Gibson — strung together 41 saves (24 in the breakneck final period) for the 42nd shutout of his career.

"It was a pivotal point in the game and I definitely recognized that as such," said Miller, who also was perfect in 20 minutes of relief duty Monday against the NHL-best Vegas Golden Knights.

"I just told myself, 'Just get one at a time and see what we can do and try to get our way out of it.' I thought everybody was desperate and that's what you need at that point in time."

Miller's sensational play — along with some timely pucks that struck the goal posts — vaulted the Ducks past the Stars in the standings in a contest that could prove pivotal down the stretch.

The Ducks jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period on another special teams play.

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And Getzlaf was in on the action there, too. He fired the puck on the Ducks' first power play, and Hampus Lindholm was there to finish off the rebound.

The Ducks managed a meager four shots in the opening stanza, and were outshot 41 to 17 through 60 minutes, with 13 of the Stars' attempts coming on the man advantage. Of course, it didn't mean much.

When the clock hit triple zeroes, emotions were still high, and the fans were still standing as Corey Perry and Stars captain Jamie Benn duked it out at center ice.

Soon, more gloves and sticks went flying, and it was an all-out fracas in a game that resembled a playoff atmosphere.

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