Anaheim Ducks players celebrate their team's 4-3 win against the Dallas Stars in Game 1 of the first-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
ANAHEIM, Calif. - A day after Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf took a slap shot to the head, the Ducks had already found the lighter side of a potentially disastrous playoff injury.
"Luckily, he's married, has a couple of kids," Anaheim defenceman Ben Lovejoy said. "He's not trying to impress anybody with his face."
Coach Bruce Boudreau was more succinct: "I didn't want to look at him," he said.
Nobody in either dressing room was surprised Thursday to learn Getzlaf plans to play against the Dallas Stars in Game 2 on Friday night despite that huge cut on his face. Getzlaf was hit by Tyler Seguin's shot in the final minute of the Ducks' 4-3 victory over Dallas on Wednesday night in the series opener, but the puck apparently broke no bones—which means it'll be almost impossible to keep Getzlaf off the ice.
"That's why he is who he is," Boudreau said. "That's why he's won two gold medals and a Stanley Cup and he's not 30. He learned from the Scotty Niedermayers and the Chris Prongers that were here before him, too. He's a battler and a gamer. It won't look too pretty, but he's going to be playing."
Getzlaf was the NHL's second-leading scorer this season with 87 points, having a spectacular offensive season while doing more of the Ducks' defensive dirty work than ever before. His two-way game was on display in the opener, and Anaheim followed his lead to hold off the Stars despite blowing most of a four-goal lead.
The Ducks know they've got to maintain their focus on that dirty work to take control of the series before heading to Dallas. Anaheim had a spectacular first half of Game 1 before slipping late in the second period.
"You'd like to put your foot on their throat, but they showed they can score some goals when they have to," Anaheim defenceman Cam Fowler said. "They've got momentum going into Game 2."
Five more things to examine when the Ducks return against Dallas:
FILM WORK: Dallas coach Lindy Ruff held the longest film session of the season on Thursday, but mostly focused on what the Stars did well in the series opener. With captain Jamie Benn leading a long list of Stars making their post-season debuts, Ruff wants to keep his team's morale high after an early setback. "It's my job to get them in the right place, and they weren't in quite the right place yesterday," Ruff said.
BELESKEY'S WOES: Getzlaf isn't the only top-line Ducks forward nursing an injury. Matt Beleskey might not play in Game 2 after leaving the opener in the third period. Beleskey said he has been struggling for weeks with an undisclosed lower-body injury that's been "all over the place" in its severity. He plans to evaluate himself Friday morning before deciding whether to try. Beleskey is easier to replace in the Ducks' lineup than Getzlaf, but the energetic forward would be missed.
HEAVY LOAD: The Ducks used their speed and passing abilities to carve up the Stars' depleted defence for numerous scoring chances, particularly early. With Brenden Dillon still sidelined by an undisclosed injury, the Stars leaned heavily on defencemen Trevor Daley (who played 26:14) and Alex Goligoski (a whopping 28:39) to keep the Ducks at bay. Goligoski, who didn't skate Thursday, was encouraged by the way Dallas finished. "I don't think (Anaheim) had too many shifts where they were buzzing down there (in the Dallas end)," he said.
DUCKY DEBUT: Rookie goalie Frederik Andersen stopped 32 shots to win his NHL playoff debut, and Boudreau indicated the 6-foot-4 Dane is likely to start again in Game 2 over veteran Jonas Hiller. Andersen has impressed his teammates with his preternatural calm all season long. "It's almost like he's got no heartbeat," Corey Perry said. "He just goes out, finds the puck and stops it."
MOMENTUM SHIFT?: Even though Anaheim has the chance to take its first two-game lead in a playoff series since 2009, both teams believe Dallas is starting Game 2 with no disadvantage. "I think we're back on an even playing field, even though we're up 1-0," Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said. "The way they finished the game, it feels like we're even."