ANAHEIM - The Anaheim Ducks are hellbent on getting the momentum back.
Getting their captain and offensive catalyst back would certainly help.
Ducks stalwart Ryan Getzlaf has already missed one outing due to an upper-body injury and is officially ‘questionable’ for Friday’s Game 5 at Honda Center in Anaheim, a crucial clash after the Dallas Stars notched two victories on home ice to even up this best-of-seven series.
“That was a tough thing, to watch the other night and not be a part of it,” Getzlaf told reporters Thursday in Anaheim. “You’ve known me a long time. It’s not in my nature at all to step away from the game unless somebody’s forcing me to. It’s been tough.”
Getzlaf was understandably tight-lipped Thursday about the details of his injury, but it’s no secret the Ducks are a different team — a better team, anyway — when he’s in the lineup.
The 28-year-old power forward from Regina has, in one way or another, been a storyline on every night of this first-round showdown with the Stars.
He had a goal and an assist to lead the Ducks to a 4-3 victory in Game 1, but a hush fell over Honda Center after he was struck in the face by a slapshot in the final minute.
Two nights later, after receiving countless stitches under his mouth and welcoming a baby girl in a whirlwind span of about 27 hours, Getzlaf had another two-point effort as the Pacific Division champs staked to a 2-0 series lead.
The Ducks were blanked in Game 3, but Getzlaf was in the news anyway after taking a second-period swing at Stars irritant Antoine Roussel after a couple of jabs to his sore jaw, then questioning his class in a post-game media scrum.
The Ducks captain was a surprise scratch for Wednesday’s contest at American Airlines Center after aggravating an injury in Game 3 and his leadership was sorely missed as the Stars erased a two-goal deficit and, with four unanswered goals, finished erasing Anaheim’s 2-0 series lead.
As emotions bubbled over late in Game 4, it was hardly a surprise to see Getzlaf’s longtime linemate, Corey Perry, drop his mitts for a scrap with Roussel.
The Stars succeeded at making life miserable for their guests in Dallas, but before Thursday’s flight to Anaheim, their primary pest balked at a suggestion the Ducks might be rattled.
“No, I don’t think so,” Roussel said. “They’re a character team, they’re a smart team and it’s pretty tough to get in their heads.”
“I think, obviously they’re frustrated,” Stars centre Shawn Horcoff added. “It’s a best-of-three series now and they’re going to rally around the fact they have two games at home. And we’re going to rally around the fact that we’ve won the last two and we think we have momentum.”
The return of Getzlaf, who leads the team with four playoff points, would certainly be a rallying point for the Ducks, but they also can’t afford an emotional letdown if he isn’t cleared.
“We have guys that have stepped up and played some big roles at times during the year. And we may need that (Friday) again,” Getzlaf said. “But hopefully I can play.”
According to Stars head coach Lindy Ruff, defenceman Brenden Dillon (lower-body) will be a game-time decision Friday ... After giving Frederik Andersen the hook in Game 4, Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau refused to reveal his starting goalie for Friday’s crucial contest at Honda Center.
JORDIE THE PROTECTOR
ANAHEIM — Brotherly love?
Sure, but that’s not the only reason Jordie Benn rushed to the aid of his younger sibling and Dallas Stars teammate, Jamie, during a skirmish with Anaheim Ducks behemoth Bryan Allen at the final buzzer of Wednesday’s feisty affair in the Big D.
“A lot of people say it’s sticking up for the brother, but I’d do it for anyone,” Jordie said. “He’s obviously one of our top players on our team, if not the top player. If Segy (Tyler Seguin) was in a tight spot, I’d go after that guy, too. It’s just me doing my job to protect our top players.”
Both of the broad-shouldered Benn Bros. are getting their first taste of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Jamie, 24, has three goals so far in this deadlocked series, none bigger than his tally just 27 seconds into the second period of Wednesday’s tilt. The Stars trailed by two after the opening stanza, but that snipe sparked a 4-2 comeback victory.
Jordie, 26, has collected a pair of assists and leads the team with 11 blocked shots in four post-season skates.
“When the older guys say it’s not the same as the regular season, it’s not,” Jordie said. “It’s a war out there, but it’s a lot of fun.”