EDMONTON - Ryan Getzlaf concedes it wasn't his best year.
And as the season winds down, the Anaheim Ducks captain could never put his finger on what exactly went wrong.
"It was weird, it was one of those years, it was unexplainable," Getzlaf said. "I felt great coming into camp, everything felt great. Even that first road trip was good, Europe was good, everything was good.
"It was just one of those years, it's tough to explain and I would like not to repeat it."
Getzlaf went into Thursday night's contest against the Edmonton Oilers with 10 goals and 45 assists on the season.
He had 19 goals and 76 points a year ago, which came on the heels of a 69-point campaign.
Heading into this season, Getzlaf was expected to lead the Ducks into the playoffs and perhaps on an extended run. It just never materialized.
"I looked for answers and I wish I could come up with them," he said. "It's one of those things where I've watched video and stuff and maybe I put a little bit too much on myself at the start of the year.
"I was trying to do to much and worrying too much about what the rest of the team was doing as opposed to getting myself ready to play and leading by example, instead of trying to worry about the other guys in the room. That's one thing that I can definitely change coming into next year."
Jeff Petry was back in the Oilers lineup Thursday, having missed a couple of games after taking a puck to the face.
Petry still had some bruising around his eye, but apart from that, did not suffer serious damage when hit with a clearing attempt a week ago against the Los Angeles Kings.
"It's better now, the swelling went down tremendously and I found out I didn't have a concussion so it was good to know," Petry said. "It was something that it just clipped the visor and hit me right below the eye. I wasn't sure if anything was fractured and the swelling was up. We did all the precautionary things and we got a CAT scan and everything was clear."
Petry was kept at home as the team went on a two-game road trip to California for fear the flight might cause further swelling.
The Oilers defenceman feels fortunate the puck didn't cause more damage and is thankful he wears a visor.
"The visor definitely helped a little bit," he said. "If it had hit the eye directly, who knows how it would have been."
Jeff Deslauriers drew the start for the Ducks Thursday, squaring off against former teammate Devan Dubnyk.
The two battled for the Oilers backup job behind Nikolai Khabibulin two seasons ago, which Dubnyk ended up winning, getting Deslauriers a ticket to the minors.
Deslauriers signed as a free agent with the Ducks this summer and is currently being used as a backup to Jonas Hillers with Dan Ellis out injured.
Heading into Thursday's contest, Deslauriers had played in just three games for the Ducks this season, winning two of them. He was the only reason the Ducks were in Thursday's contest, keeping his team in the game through the first two periods.
Right to the finish line
According to Bruce Boudreau, the responsibility of keeping his players playing to the final buzzer falls on the head coach.
The Ducks bench boss put his team thorough a spirited practice Wednesday before taking on the Oilers the following night.
"If I went out at practice and told them to do what they want and didn't scream and didn't yell, they would do what they wanted," Boudreau said. "They're like your kids. If you're not on top of your kids all the time, no matter what the occasion, they're going to find ways to goof off."
Having been eliminated from playoff contention, the Ducks are playing out the season. They'll wrap things up in Calgary Saturday.
"You have to stay on top of them right to the bell," Boudreau said. "We're professionals. I can find different things for me to get motivated, so I just hope it works for them and it usually it does, because usually what affects me, affects most people.
"Come Sunday, they can eat the biggest ham in the world, sit on the couch and watch the final round of the Masters with no worries about who they're playing on Monday."