Would he or wouldn’t he—get his thousandth point? Would they or wouldn’t they—get their thousandth win? Yes, he would, and yes, they would.
And it didn’t take long to deal with the first of those “would he’s?”. With under five minutes gone, Getzlaf spotted a breaking Cam Fowler and passed the puck to him. That sounds simple. It wasn’t. He spotted Fowler considerably ahead of him and threw a puck off the boards that rebounded to Fowler. The latter then streaked in on goal and slapped the puck on a one-timer—which he almost never does on the rush—into the net.
One goal. One assist. Fowler the goal, Getzlaf the assist. One thousand points, all, obviously in a Ducks uniform. Wait. There was another assist on the play. The secondary helper came from Troy Terry. So it was past-meets-future as Terry got a point in his 15th consecutive game, very near the top of the Ducks’ history in this department (trailing only Selanne at 17 games and Perry at 19), and now ahead of Getzlaf in this category. And he continued his surge at the top of the Anaheim team scoring stats, an incredible first 15 games to the year.
Between periods, Getzlaf commented. “I think it’s fitting [that it was an assist]. Just happy that it went in and that we got the lead.”
The Ducks exited the first period 1-0 in part because an apparent Washington goal was called back as offside as the result of a challenge by Anaheim. Thus the first period would end 1-0, with no power plays on either side and the shots on the Anaheim side, 11-8. They would be 11-6 in period two. They would eventually end 31-30 for the Ducks.
The second frame would just be normal hockey, with no further milestones to reach. The play was relatively open, as it has been for Anaheim this year, and the most notable part, perhaps, was what happened with a couple of minutes left. Troy Terry was sent in alone on Vanacek, deking, and he was stopped. The rebound came to a trailing Mason McTavish, and he shot the puck, also to no effect. Down play went to the other end, and Van Riemsdyk had the puck with Gibson down and dead to rights. He couldn’t bury it. The period thus ended with the same 1-0 score that the first had. And this from teams who came into the game at third (Washington) and fourth (Anaheim) in NHL scoring.
Heck, the Ducks didn’t care, as long as the lead held up. And their key, to this point on the night, was that they were containing the Ovechkin-Kuznetzov-Wilson trio. To the end of forty minutes, they had an aggregate of two shots, neither of which was by a guy with #8 on his sweater.
The third period saw the Capitals tie the game with a tip of a point shot. The touch came by Garrett Pilon, his first NHL goal, off the shot by Fehervery, surely the most whimsical-sounding name in the NHL at the moment.
The game was thus at ones with the third well underway. The Ducks had just one shot. Then Sonny Milano slapped a puck off the boards to himself in the neutral zone, and next flipped an aerial pass to Zegras. He was in alone, and he picked the 5-hole, sliding it low and in. It was his third goal in the last two games, and it further cemented the Zegras-Milano connection that has been developing over the past few weeks.
It wasn’t over. Near the end of the third, Tom Wilson deflected a puck down with an apparent high stick. it went in along the ice. Review showed that the play was good. 2-2 was the score.
Anaheim wasn’t being denied; Trevor Zegras scored the OT winner on a play where he kept a puck across the top of the slot and flung it over the goalie’s shoulder from a distance. That produced the Ducks’ 1000th win.
Win aside, let’s return to Ryan Getzlaf. He’s sitting on the following scoring stats: 1118 games, 280 goals, 720 assists. That’s regular season. He has also appeared in 125 playoff games, with 37 goals, 83 assists, and 120 points, obviously nearly a point per game.
But there’s one other number to point you to. He’s got 935 PIMs in the regular season, 137 in the playoffs. You know those aren’t a bunch of minors. Rather, he’s taken on whoever needed to be smacked down over the years, and mostly won. Those PIMs include a lot of 5-minute penalties, in other words. And if leadership is that, well, then, give him credit.
He may be mid-30s (36), but he’s as fit as ever. He’s leading as Captain and shredding it regarding ice time this year, often playing more that 20 minutes a night. As a forward!!
Troy Terry was almost embarrassed to know after the game that Getzlaf called Terry one of his best friends. He said after the game, “Anytime you’re mentioned with Ryan Getzlaf it’s cool, especially me, how much I look up to him. It’s not lost on me being on that list [for consecutive games with points] with [Getzlaf and others].” It’s not lost on Getzlaf, either, with his new lease of life this season so far.
BTW, now that you know about the 1000th, point, what about the first? October 14th, 2005, Getzlaf (with hair) playing for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, an assist on a goal by Joffrey Lupul, on which Corey Perry got the other assist.
The Ducks honored David McNab for his four-plus decades as an executive in the NHL before the game. He received a painting and the exact pair of seats he and his father used to sit in in the old San Diego Sports Arena. He has put in 28 years with the Ducks franchise.
Brian Kennedy is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.