ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ryan Getzlaf scored his final NHL point with a behind-the-back pass to Adam Henrique for a goal with 2:41 to play, and the longtime Anaheim captain wrapped up a 17-year career spent entirely with the Ducks in a 6-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Sunday night.
With one last bit of playmaking brilliance from one of the top centers of his era, Getzlaf finished his prolific career with 1,019 points, the 88th-most in league history.
Getzlaf broke in unmarked on St. Louis goalie Ville Husso with ample time to shoot – but in keeping with the pass-first philosophy that defined his career, Getzlaf gracefully spun and put a sublime pass onto Henrique’s tape for a goal.
The sellout crowd at Honda Center repeatedly roared for the Ducks’ longtime captain and playmaking center from his first step on the ice to his final, teary departure. After the final whistle, he stepped under a spotlight on the center circle in the darkened arena and gave his thanks to the crowd and his family.
Jordan Kyrou, Vladimir Tarasenko, Ivan Barbashev and Justin Faulk had a goal and an assist apiece during a dominant second period by the Blues, who fell behind 2-0 in the first period before rallying for their 14th win in 16 games.
Pavel Buchnevich and Marco Scandella added third-period goals and Husso made 14 saves for St. Louis, which remained even with Minnesota for second place in the Central Division and home ice in their playoff series, although the Wild have a game in hand.
Max Comtois and Gerry Mayhew scored in the first period for the Ducks, who have lost 19 of 22 in the dismal finish to their fourth straight non-playoff season. John Gibson stopped 31 shots.
The 36-year-old Getzlaf is the Ducks’ franchise leader in points, assists, playoff scoring and games played, and he served as the Ducks’ captain for a team-record 12 seasons. An often-brilliant passer with impressive ice vision and a mean streak, he became the 92nd player in NHL history to score 1,000 points last November – and only the 45th to do it with one team.
He won the Stanley Cup in 2007 alongside Corey Perry, his fellow 2003 draftee and best friend. The longtime linemates spent 14 seasons together in Anaheim before Perry was released in 2019.
With their playoff hopes already dashed, the Ducks turned their home finale into a tribute game for Getzlaf. Thousands of fans eager for something to celebrate after a dismal half-decade in Anaheim hockey lined up outside two hours before the arena doors opened.
After a pregame tribute video, Getzlaf and his wife and four children joined team owners Henry and Susan Samueli at center ice. The Ducks presented Getzlaf with an around-the-world golf vacation, followed by an off-road vehicle driven onto the ice by beloved Ducks legend Teemu Selanne.
Anaheim then rode the momentum from its crowd to score on its first two shots against the Blues. Comtois banged home a doorstep pass from Vinni Lettieri, and Mayhew followed up with a slap shot through traffic from the blue line.
But the Blues’ huge talent advantage showed in the second period. After Kyrou and Tarasenko got credit for goals on deflected shots, an unmarked Barbashev put the Blues ahead with his 26th goal from point-blank range before Faulk added his 16th goal.
Buchnevich scored his career-best 30th goal, and Kyrou became St. Louis’ fourth 70-point scorer this season.
Tyler Bozak returned from a six-week injury absence for St. Louis, and Robert Thomas had an assist to extend his points streak to a career-best 17 games.
Blues: At Avalanche on Tuesday.
Ducks: At Sharks on Tuesday. Getzlaf will not play in Anaheim’s final two games.