If you had to sum up the Anaheim Ducks’ season through the first 53 games, one could probably say that as Ryan Getzlaf goes, so do the Ducks.
And it’s not so much that Getzlaf has had a bad season. Through Friday, he’s appeared in 49 of Anaheim’s 53 contests and he’s tallied 40 points (5-35-40) in that span. Just about any player in the NHL will take those numbers.
What’s been the problem is that all of Anaheim’s cold streaks this season have essentially correlated with Getzlaf’s cold streaks. Even though the team features other star forwards like Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler, it appears that any and all of the Ducks’ success this year will hinge upon the state of Getzlaf’s game.
Getzlaf, currently one of the game’s most prolific scorers, started out the 2015-16 campaign mired in an ugly cold streak. Through his team’s first eight games of the season, the Saskatchewan native tallied just a single point, an assist on a Cam Fowler goal in a 4-1 victory over Minnesota on October 18. And then to compound the misery he was sidelined after that game after having his appendix removed.
Between Getzlaf’s cold streak and unexpected surgery, the Ducks started the year just 3-7-2, a far cry from the preseason expectations tagged on them.
He returned to the lineup on Nov. 6 against Columbus with a bang, notching three assists in a 4-2 win on home ice, he followed it up with an assist the next night in San Jose. It appeared that maybe his time away from the rink had helped reset his season, but he went pointless in four of Anaheim’s next five contests as the team struggled to gain traction in the standings.
Getzlaf started to find his game after this stretch. He tallied 16 points (2-14-16) over Anaheim’s next 17 games that would take them through the end of December. He only went pointless in seven of those 17 contests, with the biggest highlight of the stretch was an impressive five assist night in a win over Calgary on Nov. 24. While Getzlaf was warming up, the Ducks once again compiled a respectable record, going 9-6-2 over that span.
It appeared he was starting to go cold again, starting off the first three games of 2016 without a point as the Ducks went 1-1-1 in those games, but ever since that 4-0 shutout loss to Toronto at home on January 6, Getzlaf has been on a roll and it has changed the complexion of the Ducks in the process.
Anaheim enters play Saturday having gone 10-3-1 in their past 14 games and in that span Getzlaf has tallied 17 points (2-15-17). He’s only gone scoreless in two games, he’s notched multiple points in five different games and he enters Saturday on a three-game point streak (1-5-6). Plus, he’s doing all this right now with a broken nose.
Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register spoke to Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau recently about the turnaround in Getzlaf’s game and how is star forward is starting to look like the player of old.
“I think he’s getting there,” Boudreau told the publication. “He seems to be getting points every game now, which is what he used to be doing. At the same time, he’s being physical. It’s something good to see.”
Whether it’s been the addition of David Perron, having to adjust to life without Perry on his line or just simply hitting the reset button on his season after the appendix injury, Getzlaf has found his game again. That could be the difference between a very disappointing season and playoff success for he and his Ducks teammates.