The smile on Ryan Getzlaf’s face was like that of a kid on the frozen pond.
He had gone so long without beating a goalie, and it weighed so heavily on him, that when it finally happened Sunday it almost seemed like a scrapbook moment.
“That’s the first time I’ve really shot a puck like that and it felt nice,” Getzlaf said. “Obviously, it’s the first time it’s gone in in a long time.”
Getzlaf’s second goal this season — his other was an empty-net goal — highlighted a strong 4-2 win against Philadelphia at Honda Center. Corey Perry scored two goals and the Ducks’ defense limited the Flyers to five shots in the third period after it lost top defenseman Cam Fowler to a lower-body injury in the opening minutes.
Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau did not have an update on Fowler other than that he is day to day. Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm played 28 minutes 3 seconds and 26:01, respectively, to fill the void. The Ducks were down to three defensemen at one point because of penalties and killed three penalties in the last half of the game.
“Hampus and Sami were instrumental in coming up with the win,” Boudreau said. “That’s a tough call for them, but they hung on and did a good job.”
Boudreau first said he liked Getzlaf’s score. It came in the first period when Getzlaf’s slap shot found the left side of the net just before a Ducks five-on-three advantage expired. It was his first goal against a goalie since Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals against Calgary on April 30.
That’s a baffling drought for Getzlaf, the NHL’s second-leading scorer two seasons ago.
“He finally put one by a goalie and hopefully it continues to snowball,” Perry said. “He’s been working hard at it and he finally [got] rewarded.”
It was the first time this season that Perry and Getzlaf scored in the same game, which prompted the hockey cliche about a team’s best players being its best players. Perry fulfilled his end with his team-leading 12th and 13th goals.
He put the Ducks ahead for good 58 seconds into the third after he skated down the right wing and threaded a shot past goalie Steve Mason.
Perry tied it 2-2 on the man advantage. His wraparound attempt created a big scramble in front of the net, and his second shot slid across the goal line. Getzlaf recorded his 700th career point on the play as a neat footnote to a big night for the top line.
“That’s our role on this team,” Perry said. “We have to be at the top our game each and every night. If it’s not going in, you’ve got to help somewhere else.”
Shawn Horcoff took that cue with his seventh career short-handed goal, off a two-on-none created when defenseman Clayton Stoner dived to break up a pass, for a 4-2 lead.
The win came against the second-lowest-scoring team in the NHL. The Ducks are at the bottom, and much more work is ahead with a three-game trip.
“I’m not going to say that our season’s turned around in one game,” Getzlaf said. “We’ve got to regroup now and go on a tough road trip and be ready to play. I’m really happy with the way our guys came out of the break, and we’re going to try to take the second half in stride.”