Jumping Through Flames
Saturday, 03.3.2012 / 8:23 AM PT
|Somewhere there's a Ryan Getzlaf in there.
In the wake of hammering a one-timer inside the far post with 46.0 seconds left to earn a crucial 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames, Ryan Getzlaf was asked how long he and his Ducks mates could savor the win.
"About eight minutes," he said.
Indeed, despite securing a victory that was the 15th straight over Calgary at home -- and more importantly kept the Ducks within seven of the last playoff spot in the West -- the Ducks are in no position to hold onto this one too long. That's because they turn right around and face an equally important -- and probably more daunting -- challenge tonight in LA against the rival Kings.
But before we look ahead to that one, let's appreciate what Getzlaf did, scoring his first goal in the last 18 games at the most dramatic of times. With the Ducks and Flames looking certain to head to overtime (which would have given Calgary a point in this race as well), Corey Perry dropped the puck to his linemate from the right wing and Getzlaf blistered a shot that left goalie Leland Irving helpless.
As great as the goal was, the celebration may have been even better. A crowd of more than 16,000 went absolutely ballistic as Francois Beauchemin wrapped Getzlaf in a bear hug while jumping up and down like a little kid who just opened an Xbox on Christmas morning. Take a look:
Earlier in the game, a vintage Getzlaf play gave Anaheim its first lead, as he emerged from behind the net with an open look at the net, but passed it up to feed a wide open Perry for the tap-in. It was another one of those "Shoot it! Shoot it! Why doesn't he? ... YEAH!!!" moments for Ducks fans, something they've grown accustomed to over the years with the pass-first Getzlaf.
"Everybody in the building is thinking he's going to shoot the puck there," Perry said. "He just is so patient with the puck, and if you keep your stick down and go to the net, good things happen."
It was among a number of good things to happen last night, including a first period fight between Beauchemin and Flames leader Jarome Iginla that was a pretty cool flashback to the '06 playoffs. (That fight almost six years ago was a lopsided Beauchemin win, while this one may have gone to Iginla.)
The Ducks have a pretty good fight on their hands tonight, facing a Kings team that hasn't played since Tuesday. And it's the second straight game against one of those teams in the pack fighting for that eighth spot. Anaheim moved up to 12th (tiebreaker over Minnesota based on regulation/overtime wins) with the win last night, while LA is in ninth, four points ahead of the Ducks.
Jonas Hiller, who last night broke the Ducks team record by making his 24th straight start, figures to be back in there tonight, as Bruce Boudreau said yesterday he planned to start him in every game from here to the finish line.
For those interested, I'll be heading up to Staples Center for a live game log and recap on the website, and I imagine I'll be seeing more than a few Ducks fans up there as well.
LA, by the way, has won three of the previous four meetings this year, including both games at Staples Center in shootouts. The Ducks this time would love to snatch one in regulation for the second straight night, which would push them up the standings while subsequently giving the Heisman to a fellow team in the crowded race.
"We have half the battle done this weekend," Getzlaf said last night. "Tonight was an emotional one. We have to enjoy it right now and get ready for the next one."