ANAHEIM — Ryan Getzlaf could not have picked a better night to score his 1,000th NHL point for the Anaheim Ducks.
The milestone, which came on a first period assist in a 3-2 overtime win against the Washington Capitals at Honda Center on Tuesday, was the biggest story of the game, but not the only one.
It was the Ducks’ eighth straight win and the 1,000th in their history; forward Troy Terry extended his season-opening point streak to 15 games; and former Ducks captains Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne were in attendance to celebrate retired longtime Anaheim executive David McNab.
“It was cool,” Getzlaf said. “There’s a lot of history here. We’re building an historic organization. It takes a long time to build that, and past players are a big part of that, so when those guys show up, it means a lot to the team. It means a lot to the fans.”
The 36-year-old center, who has scored 280 goals and 720 assists in 17 NHL seasons, all with the Ducks, became the first Anaheim player, and seventh active NHL player, to reach the milestone, joining Joe Thornton, Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Kane and Anze Kopitar.
It came when he had the primary assist on a goal by Cam Fowler that gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead at 3:32 of the first period. Terry had the secondary assist to extend his point streak to 15 games (11 goals, 10 assists).
“[Getzlaf has] meant so much to the franchise,” Kariya told the Orange County Register. “He’s been a Duck from the start. Who knows how long he’ll play? But he’s been a great leader and he’s been a great guy in the community.
“His play this year has been incredible. His leadership and his all-around game has been fantastic. When you talk about the offense and the talent of the young guys like (Trevor) Zegras, Terry and (Jamie) Drysdale, obviously that’s come to the forefront.”
Getzlaf repeatedly said that last season wasn’t enjoyable for him when he scored 17 points (five goals, 12 assists), his fewest in an NHL season. A free agent after last season, some wondered if he’d return to the Ducks and stay on course to break the previous team record of 988 points held by Selanne.
That opportunity played a factor in Getzlaf’s decision to sign a one-year contract with the Ducks on July 28.
He broke the team record in a 4-2 win against the visiting Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 31, the start of the current winning streak.
“Hitting the franchise record meant a lot to me,” Getzlaf said. “Not something I set a goal to do, but being able to be a part of an organization as long as I have, getting to the top of that list was a lot of fun. I took a lot of pride in that and being here as long as I have.”
Getzlaf isn’t just breaking records and reaching milestones this season. He enters Wednesday tied for third in the NHL with 17 assists.
He has 18 points in 17 games, one more point than he scored in 48 games last season, when he scored the fewest of his career.
“1,000 points is a milestone not a lot of people achieve, we all know that,” Zegras said. “I even told him, I said, ‘You’re sick.'”
Getzlaf’s production has been boosted by the chemistry he’s developed with Terry, with 11 assists during the current winning streak, including seven in the past four games.
“He’s driving the bus,” coach Dallas Eakins said. “The rest of them are having a party on the bus right behind him. They’re all in on his leadership.
“It’s unbelievable that all of our players on our bench got to be part of a 1,000th win, (and) they got to see our captain get his 1,000th point, which is so, so rare. It was just an unbelievable night.”