Changing playoff outcome is cause for resting Ryan Getzlaf

Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf is trying to get rested and healthy for the NHL playoffs

Maybe the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference would be in hand if Ryan Getzlaf had played in each of the last two Ducks’ games.

But what’s more valuable, that seeding, which can still be clinched by Saturday, or a rested, healthy Getzlaf for the playoffs?

So while the outcomes have been ugly and the play sloppy in consecutive losses to playoff outsiders Colorado and Dallas, the Pacific Division-champion Ducks have greater interest in winning next week and beyond.

Following what Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau described as “a hard, tough practice [with a] lot of battling” Thursday at Honda Center following a lackluster 4-0 home loss the night before to Dallas, the coach said Getzlaf hasn’t entered the playoffs fully healthy in the last two seasons.

In 2013-14, the second-seeded Ducks bowed out to Detroit in the first round, and last season they were routed by the visiting Kings in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals.

“It hasn’t happened in the last couple of years and we want to make sure it does happen this year,” said Boudreau, who rested Getzlaf again at Thursday’s practice.

The first-line center, an NHL Hart Trophy candidate with 24 goals and a team-best 68 points, is getting the time off to let season-long “bumps and bruises” heal, Boudreau said. It's not know whether Getzlaf will play in Saturday's regular-season finale at lowly Arizona (24-48-8).

“He’s our straw that stirs the [drink] and when he’s on top of his game, everything else follows suit and everyone else follows suit,” Boudreau said.

The coach, seeking to lead a team at least to a conference final for the first time in his career, said Thursday’s practice was intended to get his players to understand “the message -- we’ve got to compete harder. We want to win.

“They’re mad about [Wednesday], that’s the most positive sign.”

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