The Anaheim Ducks have had three days off to relish their recent turnaround. Their leading scorer particularly enjoyed the break.
With a new contract in hand, Ryan Getzlaf looks to lead the Ducks to a fifth consecutive victory on Wednesday when they host the Dallas Stars.
The defending Stanley Cup champions appear to have put a rough start behind them, going 6-1-1 this month and winning their last four games. Anaheim (10-8-3) had won just four of its first 13 games, failing to score more than two goals in nine of them.
The Ducks have scored at least four goals in four of their last seven games, a stretch during which Getzlaf has accounted for four goals and seven assists.
Leading Anaheim with 21 points after totaling a team-high 17 in last season's playoffs, Getzlaf signed a five-year extension worth $26.25 million on Tuesday to keep him with the club through 2012-13.
"I was looking to sign a long-term deal and be one of the top guys on this team," the 22-year-old center said. "The expectations are going to go up and they continue to grow as the years go by. That's part of being a hockey player and growing as a player. I'm excited to have that opportunity right now."
Getzlaf ran his point streak to five games Saturday with an assist in a 2-1 shootout win at San Jose.
It was the fourth victory in a row for the Ducks, who will match their longest winning streak from all of last season if they win this game.
"I don't know if you can say we're finding our groove, we've won four in a row but three of them are in shootouts," coach Randy Carlyle said. "We're not going to get too high on what we've accomplished. We've sure had our fair share of struggles early in the season, and for whatever the reason, but we're starting to get an understanding of how we have to play."
The only team to beat Anaheim in regulation this month was Dallas (9-7-4), and it also was the Ducks' most lopsided defeat in nearly four years - 5-0 on Nov. 5. The Stars won 3-1 at home on Oct. 20 in the only other meeting this season.
Dallas is 5-0-1 in the last six matchups, holding Anaheim under two goals in each victory. The Ducks have won just twice in their last 13 games at Dallas, losing the last four.
That bodes well for a Stars team seeking a season-best third straight win. Dallas has outscored Colorado and Los Angeles by a 9-1 margin in its last two games.
Mike Smith was in net for both games, giving coach Dave Tippett a tough choice as to who should be his No. 1 goaltender Wednesday.
Regular starter Marty Turco has been struggling, giving up 14 goals while losing his last three starts, and he has a subpar 2.76 goals-against average this season. Smith has stopped all but one of the 40 shots he's faced over the last two games.
"We need both guys to be very good to be successful," Tippett said. "(Smith) has done what he's supposed to do. That gives you stability."
Jere Lehtinen is riding a seven-game point streak and has 19 for the season, one behind Mike Ribeiro and Brenden Morrow for the team lead. Lehtinen and Ribeiro have each burned the Ducks for two goals and three assists in two meetings this season.
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