ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Ryan Getzlaf grabbed the three pucks wrapped in tape and held them up to his chest in the Anaheim Ducks' dressing room for a celebration nine seasons in the making.
"About time, eh?" he said. "I've been waiting for this one for a while."
Anaheim's consummate playmaker finally had a hat trick of his own in the latest overwhelming victory for the league-leading Ducks.
Getzlaf had three goals and an assist in the first period, linemate Dustin Penner also scored four points, and the Ducks remained the NHL's only unbeaten home team with a 6-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.
Getzlaf nearly didn't play after taking a tumble in the morning skate. Instead, he got his first career hat trick before the first intermission as the league-leading Ducks (14-3-1) trounced the league-worst Sabres (3-15-1) for their seventh win in eight games overall.
While improving to 7-0 at home, the Ducks got a landmark performance from their captain, who usually makes his living setting up longtime teammate Corey Perry for the bulk of the former Richard Trophy winner's goals. With big assists from Penner and Perry, Getzlaf finally got his first hat trick in his 574th regular-season game.
"They were really dominant tonight," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said of his top line. "There was no doubt. You could tell, as soon as he started his skating, that Ryan was great. When we got the power-play goal early, it was because he did something he doesn't normally do, which is jump right into the play after a shot. As soon as he did that, I said 'OK, he's going to have a good game.'"
The veteran center tied the franchise record for points in a period while picking up just the second first-period hat trick in Ducks history. Teemu Selanne also did it in November 1997.
"That's why he's got the 'C,'" said Penner, who had three first-period assists and a second-period goal in his first four-point game since December 2009. "He shows what a great leader he is by getting timely goals."
Getzlaf finished the first period with nine points in his last nine periods, including three multipoint performances in Anaheim's last four outings to move up to second place among the league's overall scoring leaders. He has 13 points in the Ducks' last eight games while playing with Perry and Penner, reassembling their line from the Ducks' Stanley Cup-winning team in 2007.
"The way we used to play together and work around each other, it feels like it's the same," Getzlaf said.
Frederik Andersen made 25 saves and improved to 5-0 in his NHL career as Anaheim won its seventh straight at Honda Center. Cam Fowler also scored in the first period for the Ducks, and Richard Rakell earned his first NHL point on a slick backhand assist for Andrew Cogliano's second-period goal.