Corey Perry thought he knew the type of effort that was coming from his close friend and first-line mate Ryan Getzlaf. Just in case, he was braced to produce in a big way, too.
Getzlaf, in extraordinary circumstances, pulled off a legendary performance of playing like his old self Friday with a goal and assist in the 3-2 victory that lifted the Ducks to a 2-0 lead over the Dallas Stars in the first-round Western Conference playoff series at Honda Center.
And Perry snapped his own 10-game postseason goal-less drought.
"Definitely feels nice, been awhile since I got one in the playoffs," Perry said. "To get one in a significant way felt good You go out, just play hockey, one shift at a time."
With 3:45 left in the second period, Perry broke a 1-1 tie by ending the skid that dated to April 20, 2011.
He intercepted a pass from Stars forward Tyler Seguin to Jamie Benn, wound up and blasted the go-ahead goal past Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen.
A short-handed goal by Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano 5:09 into the third period extended the lead, leaving Ducks rookie goalie Frederik Andersen & Co. to withstand a Ryan Garbutt goal and massive pressure, including a late Dallas power play, to win a second one-goal game.
"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," Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said.
That's an attitude that trickles from Getzlaf, the center who not only required countless stitches to close a gash under his mouth from a Dallas shot Wednesday, but was up all night basking in the birth of his and wife Paige's third child, daughter Willa, at 12:36 a.m. Friday.
Getzlaf played 19:40 Friday and was plus-three in goal differential while on the ice with three hits and two blocked shots.
"Sometimes, you need your best players to step up," Boudreau said.
Perry's excitement punctuated the Ducks' heightened effort in the second, when they extended their advantage in hits to 31-18 and rattled Lehtonen before the go-ahead goal with close-range shots by Nick Bonino and Teemu Selanne.
Andersen later found himself face down on the ice with some Stars atop him in the final 40 seconds, and worked to free himself as other Dallas players couldn't gather a puck for an open shot at net.
When they finally did, Andersen was up and snared the object, the penalty time and period expiring moments later.
"What a big save, what he's done all year," Perry said.
Dallas opened the scoring 15 seconds after Perry was called for a slashing penalty.
Stars forward Alex Chiasson set up comfortably in the right circle and took a pass off the boards behind Andersen to blast in the go-ahead goal 7:40 into the game.
Dallas' opening intensity crossed a line, however, when defenseman Trevor Daley got atop Perry in the Dallas crease and pounded him, drawing a roughing penalty.
The Ducks then returned to playoff hockey, and less than 30 seconds after the power play expired, Getzlaf swatted the puck from Stars forward Erik Cole and charged to the goal.
While Getzlaf has been quick to point out he didn't shoot more in his personal-best 31-goal regular season, his shooting accuracy has improved.
So as he charged in on Lehtonen, he held the puck on his stick instead of passing, eyed an opening and fired to the net high to the goalie's left side, tying the score with 2:46 remaining in the first.
Getzlaf received a game-opening roar by the sellout crowd. He wore a protective shield that bore resemblance to the lower grid of an NFL facemask over the wound. And he rose to the moment.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times