Ducks' Ryan Getzlaf is game-time decision for Sunday against Tampa Bay

Ducks' Ryan Getzlaf is game-time decision for Sunday against Tampa Bay
Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf, battling Hurricanes center Riley Nash for the puck on Tuesday, is still questionable to play because of a lower-body injury. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Injured center Ryan Getzlaf skated Saturday morning, making him a game-time decision for the Ducks' meeting against the Atlantic Division-leading Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday.

Getzlaf suffered a lower-body injury Thursday in pregame warmups in Nashville and was sidelined for that victory, then didn't play Friday in the Ducks' 3-2 shootout loss at Washington.


"He felt better. Did he feel good enough to go? I guess we'll find out [Sunday at the] morning skate," Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He said he's feeling better. Whether that's close to the level Ryan Getzlaf wants to play, or better than the day before, I didn't push it. He'll let me know."

Using 21-year-old center Rickard Rakell on the first line and giving 10-plus minutes to rookie center William Karlsson, the Ducks (34-12-7) showed the Getzlaf void Friday while being beaten by a team that started minor league fill-in Philipp Grubauer in goal. The Ducks finished with 25 shots on goal.

Getzlaf, the Ducks' points leader (52), ranks in the top five in the NHL with 36 assists.

"Arguably, he's one of the top three players in the world … you take him out of your lineup, it's going to affect your play," Boudreau said. "Just like when he's in your lineup, it's the reason you're good.

"He's missed. He's involved in penalty killing, the power play, big faceoffs, plays in the last few minutes — all the situations."

Take it easy

When the Ducks' flight landed in Tampa early Saturday morning, Boudreau scratched a planned team practice.

The Ducks have lost the second game of consecutive back-to-back series twice in a row, and the Lightning is an imposing foe, leading the NHL in goals scored.

"We watch [fatigue] pretty closely," Boudreau said. "We know it's a long, arduous road, and looking at the big picture sometimes is a lot more important than looking at the small picture. You gotta rest."

Fast as …

The Lightning started Saturday's game against the Kings with nine players possessing double-digit goals totals, led by center Steven Stamkos.

Center Tyler Johnson, the team's points leader, was the 2012-13 American Hockey League most valuable player and part of a class with center Alex Killorn and forward Nikita Kucherov that boosted a quality roster.

"That team has evolved into instantly a good team," Boudreau said. "People might not know all the names now, but in five years, they'll be stars. We don't want to get into a track meet."

Domino effect


Tampa Bay's talent influx made center Nate Thompson expendable after five seasons with the Lightning, providing the Ducks a valuable penalty-killing checking-line specialist.

"Yeoman's work — he'll play left wing, center, takes faceoffs, can put him out there for checking and he never complains, just works his [rear] off," Boudreau said. "Doesn't score the goals, but very valuable member of this club."

Thompson said returning to Tampa will be "a good time, playing against old buddies. I enjoyed my time and the people there, from the top down. I'll do my job. We're going to get two points."


When: 2 p.m. PST Sunday.

On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 830.

ETC.: The Lightning will visit Anaheim on Feb. 18. Ducks defenseman Eric Brewer was also acquired from Tampa Bay earlier this season.

Twitter: @latimespugmire