Even a hugely talented class needs a scolding every so often.
Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau watched his team slipping, turning a potential blowout against an Eastern Conference minnow into a fast-and-loose game.
Fine for pond hockey but not an NHL stretch run.
Boudreau called a timeout after the struggling Florida Panthers scored twice and pulled within a goal at the 10:00 mark in the second period and issued some stern reminders. It wasn't quite the Socratic method, but it worked and the Ducks needed 55 seconds after the timeout to score and then cruised, winning, 6-2, on Sunday night at Honda Center.
"It wasn't yelling, screaming at the timeout," Boudreau said of the message on the bench after the Ducks' lead was cut to 3-2. "It was just, starting playing the right way. We were so loose. It was like a shinny game for a while."
Ten players factored into the scoring for Anaheim, which drew within a point of first-place San Jose in the Pacific division.
Captain Ryan Getzlaf, who had a goal and two assists, became the third player in franchise history to score 600 points as a Duck, joining his new linemate, Teemu Selanne, and the retired Paul Kariya.
"I didn't know it until after but it's one of those things, it's another step along the way here, playing in one organization," Getzlaf said. "That's a nice thing to be in, pretty good company when I get with those guys."
Getzlaf also hit the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career. Selanne had a goal and an assist for his first multi-point game since Jan. 15 against Vancouver. Corey Perry scored once — an incredible second effort, down on his knees — and added an assist.
Ducks forward Patrick Maroon opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 11:57 of the first period and later added an assist for his first career multi-point game. He ended up leaving the game with a lower-body injury, but Boudreau indicated it was more precautionary than anything else.
What is especially compelling is the potential of Perry-Getzlaf-Selanne now that they've had time to establish some chemistry.
"There's a lot of games that we have been playing good shifts but maybe not every shift, the whole game," Selanne said. "I think today it was really clicking…. It was fun to play again with those guys. Those guys are so dangerous and talented."
Selanne, 43, replied immediately when asked whether playing alongside Getzlaf and Perry has reenergized him.
"Absolutely," he said. "It's totally different when you get solid shifts and you're out there all the time. It's a different game. That's how I have always played — all 20 years pretty much."
Selanne was particularly insightful about the evolution of Getzlaf.
"I've always said there's no reason why he couldn't be the best player in the league … he can be as good as he wants to be. It's scary," Selanne said. "He's a totally different athlete now than a couple of years ago. A lot of times, young guys, they have to learn the hard way. I think the one bad season he had ... it was a wake-up [call] for him. He took a lot of pride to change things and be a better athlete.
"He has always been so talented that maybe some things come too easy and sometimes you forget important things. Now he started working. He wanted to be a leader. When you win the Stanley Cup in your first year, it gives you a little different, a wrong picture about this league.
"His body language right now: He wants to be a leader. It's his team…. He wants to win the Cup as a leader, not the supporting role like the first time."
Selanne went outside of hockey to pop culture to refer to how Getzlaf is challenging himself now.
"He's like Mr. Incredible movie," Selanne said. "The guy doesn't know how strong he is. That's what Getzy is for me. You have all the tools…. He's so big and strong and dominating. I've never seen anybody like that."
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