The Ducks have their captain Ryan Getzlaf back, but now must worry about the severity of an injury to his longtime running mate.
Corey Perry’s right knee collided with Carolina Hurricanes winger Jeff Skinner during the first period Monday and awkwardly bent before the former 50-goal scorer crashed to the ice in a heap. Perry lay face down in the ice for a few moments before he gathered himself and slowly limped to the bench with the help of trainers.
He didn’t return to the game, which the Ducks won 3-2 before 16,198 at Honda Center, and the injury to the team’s top scorer loomed large over the victory.
Coach Randy Carlyle said Perry was transported to a local hospital for evaluation of a lower-body injury.
The Ducks must feel snakebit. They lead the NHL in man games lost by a large margin, but finally were regaining their health as they chase a sixth consecutive Pacific Division title.
Getzlaf, visor and all, returned Monday to his spot centering the top line after missing the last 19 games with a fractured cheekbone suffered against the Hurricanes in October.
Jakob Silfverberg was back in the lineup, too, after missing five games with an upper-body ailment.
To lose Perry now would seem cruel.
“We hope Pears is as short term as possible; [he’s] a big part of our team. … I don’t think I’ve seen this [many injuries] with any team since I’ve been in the league,” said Getzlaf, a regular in the lineup since 2005.
“It’s been crazy. But it is what it is. We have to build that confidence in our group.”
One guy the Ducks have all the confidence in is John Gibson. The goaltender had another stellar performance in a season full of them.
His 28 saves spearheaded the victory, and many of Gibson’s stops were sensational.
A sprawling glove save on Hurricanes sniper Teuvo Teravainen maintained the Ducks’ 3-1 lead midway through the third period.
Moments later, Gibson flashed with a desperate dive to swat a sliding puck away from the goal line on the penalty kill.
All in a night’s work for Gibson, who is making his case for an All-Star berth.
“It’s part of the job,” said Gibson, who has a .921 save percentage and 2.91 goals-against-average. “You don’t really get to pick and choose what’s thrown at you.”
The Ducks were slow out of the gate and found themselves down 1-0 after Justin Williams deflected a Trevor van Riemsdyk point blast off the face-off less than two minutes into the game.
They tied it minutes later when Derek Grant’s diving poke sent Logan Shaw’s rebound past Scott Darling. Then with 35 seconds left in the second period, Silfverberg capitalized when Haydn Fleury lost his edge in the neutral zone.
The Swede corralled the puck, and instead of trying to maneuver around Darling on the breakaway, he simply fired a wrister top shelf over the goalie’s left shoulder.
“It’s about time I scored on a breakaway,” Silfverberg said. “I think I’m 0 for 4 in the shootout this year.”
Early in the third, fourth-line winger Shaw picked up his second point of the game with a slot wrister off an Andy Welinksi point pass.
That was the rookie defenseman’s first point in his first NHL game.