The Anaheim Ducks will begin the post-Ryan Getzlaf era when they visit the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.
Getzlaf played his final game for the Ducks on Sunday in a 6-3 loss to the visiting St. Louis Blues, ending a 17-year-career with Anaheim that saw him become the only player in team history to play at least 1,000 games and score at least 1,000 points.
Getzlaf, the team’s captain since 2010, previously announced that he would not accompany the team on the final two-game trip.
“He’s a leader here, he’s the face of this organization,” Ducks forward Adam Henrique said. “There’s not enough good things you could say about him or his family, or what he means here, so it’s special to be able to be a part of it for the last few years.”
Anaheim (30-36-14, 74 points) hopes to finish its rollercoaster season on a high note.
The Ducks are 3-14-5 in their past 22 games, guaranteeing they’ll miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season.
Following the game against the Sharks, Anaheim will wrap up its season on Friday at the Dallas Stars.
The Ducks have just seven victories since the All-Star break, but two have come against the Sharks.
Anaheim beat San Jose 4-3 in a shootout on Feb. 22, and 3-2 in overtime on March 6. The Sharks came back with a 4-1 win in San Jose on March 26, backed by a Timo Meier hat trick.
The Sharks (32-35-12, 76 points) should enter the game against Anaheim feeling cheerful after rallying to beat the Vegas Golden Knights 5-4 in a shootout on Sunday night, ending an 11-game losing streak against the Golden Knights and putting them on the brink of playoff elimination for the first time in team history.
San Jose scored two goals in the final three minutes of regulation against Vegas with goalie James Reimer pulled for an extra skater, including the tying goal by Meier with 0.9 seconds left.
The Sharks then killed a penalty in overtime before Reimer stopped three straight attempts in the shootout and rookie Thomas Bordeleau ended it with a goal in the third round.
“I just thought that we were a team that never quit (Sunday) night,” San Jose coach Bob Boughner said. “It took us 59 minutes and 59 seconds to get the goal we needed, but it was a fun game. I know the guys are happy and enjoying themselves right now and feeling good about themselves.”
After the Sharks host Anaheim, they finish the season with road games against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday and the Seattle Kraken on Friday.
San Jose hopes to ride the momentum of Sunday’s comeback win through the rest of this week.
“Being down two goals, two goalie pulls, two 6 on 5s, 0.9 seconds, killing a penalty at 4-on-3 in overtime, and then going into a shootout and having a kid get in there and step up at that moment,” Boughner said. “It’s a great story for us, and I know I’ve never seen the room as happy and as joyful.”
–Field Level Media