NASHVILLE -- This is Ryan Getzlaf's fourth season as the Ducks' captain, and his best in terms of fulfilling the title's demands.
Thursday night embodied the extra push Getzlaf, 28, brings. Trailing by two goals after the first period, he responded with two goals and a brilliant assist in a six-minute 27-second span to open the second period, carrying the Ducks to a 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators.
Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau praised his center's assertiveness.
"It's the best I've seen from anyone I've been associated with, as far as leadership," Boudreau said. "It seems like when we're down, not playing well, he takes it upon himself to do what he does until the other guys catch up."
The Ducks (33-8-5) own an NHL-best record of 14-5-1 in games in which their opponent scores first, and they're 17-1-5 in one-goal games.
They've won five straight, are 7-1 in their last eight road games and have rallied nine times (three times from two-goal deficits) while on their 15-1 tear. They also have a team record of five straight games with four or more goals.
Getzlaf willed the Ducks back from the 2-0 hole with two goals in the first 4:36 of the second period, first ripping a shot that beat goalie Marek Mazanec high to his right 55 seconds into the frame.
"I knew we had to be better, that was the main goal," Getzlaf said after the Ducks gave up two first-period goals for the fourth time in six games. "We never had the doubt that we can't win a hockey game. We know we have to be a big part of it."
The Ducks tied the score when, on a rush, Ducks forward Matt Beleskey shuffled a pass back to Getzlaf, who again beat Mazanec to his right for his 22nd goal.
Nashville got a traffic goal to retake the lead briefly, but Getzlaf answered by whipping a pass through defenders that hit Corey Perry in stride as he cruised in and blasted a shot that Mazanec couldn't glove.
"It's always in our mind-set to get the puck and go," Getzlaf said. "And Perry knows, when I have the puck, he's going."
Perry's 25th goal came on Getzlaf's 30th assist.
"I yelled once, he knew where I was across the middle . . . I took off, he found me," Perry said.
The Ducks seized the lead for good on Teemu Selanne's power-play goal with 1:08 left in the second.
Selanne set up to Mazanec's right and was found by Patrick Maroon. The goal was Selanne's 680th, his 253rd on the power play, and his first since Dec. 15.
"When you don't get as many chances as you used to, it's good to take advantage of it," Selanne said.
The veteran said that sparking plays such as Maroon's through-the-legs assist also defines the Ducks, who got two assists from Beleskey in the first line for injured Dustin Penner (arm), and rested Jonas Hiller and his 12-game win streak in favor of rookie Frederik Andersen.
"I keep repeating how much depth we have," Selanne said. "There's a competition for jobs. We're rotating a lot of guys, guys who are playing well. It's a healthy situation, a dream come true for the coach. He can push everyone in the right way, the healthy way."
Andersen stopped all 12 shots he faced in the third period as the Ducks killed two penalties.