|"Kid line" features big, tough, talented youngster|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 29 May 2007 13:54|
The play of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, each of whom turned 22 earlier this month, and 24-year-old Dustin Penner has been a key to Anaheim's success. The Ducks' second line has combined for 27 points in 16 games heading into Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final against Ottawa on Wednesday night.
Getzlaf, a 6-foot-3, 213-pounder, is Anaheim's top-scoring forward with five goals and eight assists. The 6-3, 202-pound Perry has four goals and five assists, and Penner, a 6-4, 245-pound rookie, has two goals and three assists.
``They've been a great line for us all year long, and at times during the playoffs, our best line,'' Anaheim defenseman Chris Pronger said. ``They're moving the puck well and cycling the puck, banging it around the front of the net.
``They have the size and like to work the corners and the front of the net. They're a tough line to really match up against the three guys down low on the opposition.''
Teemu Selanne, 36, has been a mentor to the youngsters.
``They've been playing great,'' he said. ``I'm very proud of them. They can be even better still.''
Being young, the ``kids'' sometimes need a good talking to.
Getzlaf scored to draw the Ducks into a 2-2 tie with Ottawa on the way to a 3-2 victory in Game 1 over the Senators, but Randy Carlyle found a lot not to like about his performance.
The Anaheim coach jokingly accused Getzlaf of having his father in town to rig the voting, since Getzlaf got the ``First Star'' honor after the Ducks' victory Monday night.
``Because I thought he was a non-factor in the game on the negative side for probably the first half of the hockey game, because I didn't think he was moving his feet,'' Carlyle said Tuesday.
``I thought he turned the puck over and he wasn't strong enough in some areas. He took a horrendous penalty. But in reviewing the game, he was better than I thought. But he still had lots of area for improvement.''
Getzlaf scored with 14:16 remaining with some fine stick-handling, switching to his backhand and shooting - all in a flash - to flick the puck past Ottawa goalie Ray Emery. Travis Moen scored the go-ahead goal with 2:51 left.
After taking Getzlaf to task, Carlyle added with a grin, ``The type of goal that he scored, only certain types of players can score those goals.
``And he's one of them. So I forgave him.''
Carlyle said that line presents several problems for the opposition.
``They have the ability to control and force teams into making defensive miscues or wearing people down,'' he said. ``And that's part of the grinding that we have to play to have success.''
Ottawa coach Bryan Murray, who was the Ducks' general manager in 2002-2003 and the following season, probably now regrets some moves he made while he was in Anaheim. Murray selected Getzlaf and Perry with the 19th and 28th picks in the 2003 draft, and signed Penner as a free agent in 2004.
``These three kids are huge. They're good with a puck. They're a threat every time they're on the ice,'' Murray said heading into the Cup finals. ``However, they also have the (Andy) McDonald-Selanne line.
``So game to game we'll have to play it by ear.''
Getzlaf said he and his linemates don't mind the ``kid'' tag.
``We're the younger guys, and I think Perry is the youngest guy on the team. So it's always going to be a little nickname for us, I'm sure,'' he said.
``Those two have been playing outstanding. It's been a pleasure to be out there with them. Our line obviously has got to keep pushing and keep getting better every night.''