Getzlaf has last laugh as Ducks take control of series

Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry celebrates after scoring against the Dallas Stars during Game 2...

Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry celebrates after scoring against the Dallas Stars during Game 2 of their first-round NHL playoff series at Honda Center. (Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports)

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:09 AM ET

Willa Getzlaf’s first photos with her dad could be a scary sight.

Just wait ‘til she grows up and realizes how much her father, Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, frightened the Dallas Stars on the night of her arrival.

Even with countless stitches under his mouth, ugly swelling on the left side of his face and short on sleep after welcoming his newborn baby girl, Getzlaf was a difference-maker in Friday’s 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars at the Honda Center, scoring on a terrific individual effort and adding an assist as the Ducks grabbed a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven series.

The matchup now shifts to Dallas, although both sides have a couple of days to let their bumps and bruises heal before Monday’s Game 3 at American Airlines Center.

The Stanley Cup playoffs are only three days old, but it’s already been an eventful second season for the 28-year-old Getzlaf.

He was struck by a slapshot in the final seconds of Wednesday’s Game 1 victory, with the evidence of a deep laceration now etched all over his face.

When Ducks officials found out he was at the hospital in the wee hours of Friday morning, they could have assumed the negative X-rays didn’t reveal the true extent of the injury. As it turns out, Getzlaf was with his wife, Paige, as the couple welcomed their third child — Willa — shortly after midnight.

A hectic stretch to be sure.

But as he showed again in Game 2, Getzlaf is a helluva player.

The sellout crowd of 17,426 fans for Friday’s contest went wild when Getzlaf was announced as a member of Anaheim’s starting lineup. They were roaring again a few minutes later, when the 6-foot-4 pivot — with a partial shield protecting his face — bulldozed Stars defenceman Alex Goligoski into the side boards on the first shift.

And when Getzlaf swiped the puck from Stars left-winger Erik Cole late in the first period, fended off his back-check as he waltzed toward the net and then roofed a shot over Kari Lehtonen’s glove?

Yeah, you guessed it ... the place was rocking.

The wildcard Stars are now in big trouble as they head back to Big D, but the truth is Friday was a pretty solid night for both captains.

Jamie Benn, who wears the ‘C’ for the Stars, deserves credit for the pain and the pass on the opening strike.

He irked Getzlaf’s sidekick, Corey Perry, with a collision in the neutral zone, then grimaced when the Ducks right-winger retaliated with a spear to the, uh, upper region of the lower body.

Just 14 seconds after Perry was banished to the sin-bin, Benn spied Alex Chiasson in the slot and the rookie right-winger capitalized for the man-advantage marker.

Getzlaf tied it up before the first intermission, then Perry earned a sliver of revenge on the only tally of the middle frame, intercepting Tyler Seguin’s cross-ice pass to Benn and eventually blasting a slapshot past Lehtonen for the go-ahead goal.

Ducks speedster Andrew Cogliano added to the lead with a controversial shorthanded goal at the 5:09 mark of the third.

Cogliano slashed Sergei Gonchar’s stick out of his hands on the forecheck, passed the puck to Getzlaf and then capitalized on the return feed, celebrating as the Stars screamed at the officials.

Since Stars pest Ryan Garbutt chipped a shot over Frederik Andersen’s shoulder at the midway point of the third but the visitors couldn’t tie it up, the non-call led to the game-winning goal.

Andersen was once again stellar for the Ducks, finishing with 34 saves. Lehtonen made 16 stops.

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNGilbertson


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