ANAHEIM, Calif. – Playing without captain and leader Ryan Getzlaf, the Anaheim Ducks dug down and beat the defending Eastern Conference champions with an impressive display of offence and goaltending.
Jason Blake and defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky each scored two goals and Jonas Hiller made 35 saves in a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night.
“It helps with some of your younger players, knowing that they can win without Getzy,” coach Randy Carlyle said. “He’s a big part of our hockey club, and he’s done a lot in a very short period of time in the NHL. Unfortunately, he’s injured, and we need a lot of people to step up. So it’s nice to see us get some offence from our back end.”
Bobby Ryan also scored and Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu, Toni Lydman each had two assists for the Ducks, who began a six-game homestand following a seven-game stretch away from Honda Center.
Getzlaf, who scored the go-ahead goal in the final two minutes of the Ducks’ 3-2 win at Philadelphia on Oct. 21, missed the game because of multiple nasal fractures after getting hit in the forehead by Shane Doan’s deflected slapshot Tuesday night at Phoenix.
Getzlaf saw a specialist Friday after being placed on injured reserve. According to a team spokesman, the fractures were stable and non-displaced, which was a positive sign. But the six-year veteran will be sidelined indefinitely. Matt Beleskey replaced Getzlaf at left wing on the Ducks’ No. 1 line with Ryan and Corey Perry.
“It’s a big hole to fill, that’s for sure. But there’s some guys in this room who can step up and contribute at different times, and tonight was a perfect example,” Perry said. “That line with Blake, Selanne and Koivu played really well and created a lot of good things for us. And that’s what we need.”
Andreas Nodl and Jeff Carter scored for the Flyers, who lost for the third time in four games and squandered an opportunity to tie Pittsburgh for the Atlantic Division lead after beating the Kings 7-4 on Thursday.
“The energy we showed at times proved that back-to-back games are tough,” Carlyle said. “They went into L.A. last night and they didn’t have quite as much energy as they normally do.”
Philadelphia was trailing 3-0 when coach Peter Laviolette burned his only timeout at 8:01 of the second period, bringing back memories of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at Boston, when Philadelphia stormed back from a 3-0 deficit and completed a historic comeback on their way to the Stanley Cup finals after trailing the Bruins three games to none.
“I don’t like the way we played,” Laviolette said. “The second period was nonchalant and flat for us. That is why I used the timeout there. We got more desperate—but still weren’t good enough in the third.”
Just 14 seconds after the timeout, Nodl scored on a 15-foot slapshot from the left circle. Carter narrowed the gap to 3-2 with 16:30 left in regulation after a sloppy turnover by Perry, but Ryan scored his 15th goal at 5:40 of the second.
“After that timeout, I knew—and I’m sure everybody did—that they were getting yelled at a little and we also knew they were going to come hard,” Blake said. “With their lineup, you’ve got to be careful. Sometimes when you get the lead, you have a tendency to maybe sit back, but you’ve got to keep your foot on the gas.”
Visnovsky ended the scoring at 16:50 of the third with his seventh goal of the season and 100th in the NHL.
Blake opened the scoring at 5:10 of the first on a breakaway, beating Bobrovsky to the glove side with a backhander after Flyers defenceman Oskars Bartulis fell down just outside his own blue-line. Visnovsky made it 2-0 at 3:58 of the second after Selanne fanned on Koivu’s pass from behind the net.
“Teemu looked a little rusty. He actually whiffed on a few shots, which he hasn’t done in a while. So he’s going to have to shoot about 500 or 600 pucks tomorrow,” Carlyle quipped.
Blake scored again exactly two minutes later on a rebound of Joffrey Lupul’s shot while Nikolay Zherdev was off for high-sticking rookie Brandon McMillan. It was Blake’s 22nd multi-goal game and first since December 2009 with Toronto.
Philadelphia enforcer Jody Shelley finished serving his second two-game suspension in less than three weeks, following a sucker punch to the face of Vancouver’s Andrew Alberts that earned Shelley a match penalty.
NOTES: Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who grew up in Philadelphia and never stops reminiscing about the Flyers’ two Stanley Cup titles he witnessed in 1974 and 1975, was among the crowd of 17,103—71 shy of a sellout. … Carter, who turns 26 on Saturday, was the player Team Canada asked to fly to Vancouver on a standby basis in December 2010 had Getzlaf’s sprained ankle not healed in time for the Olympics. But it did, and Getzlaf skated off with a gold medal.