Ducks star Ryan Getzlaf starts 2015 off with First Star of Month honors

 Let’s put to bed the notion that Ryan Getzlaf can’t play without Corey Perry.

The NHL rewarded the Anaheim Ducks’ captain for his play in December without his longtime linemate when Getzlaf was named the league’s First Star of the Month on Friday morning.

Getzlaf helped lead Anaheim to the best record in the league last month by putting up some of the best numbers in the league. The captain scored five times and tallied 15 assists for an NHL-best 20 points, shouldering the load with top scorers Perry and Kyle Palmieri out in addition to a few key defensemen. 

"He earned it in every way," said winger Patrick Maroon. "With Perry out, we can all joke now that he doesn’t need Perry, but he earns it all. That’s why he’s the top leading scorer and that’s the way he is every year and that’s why he’s our captain."

It’s no secret that the Ducks were bit by the injury bug early this season and its grip is only starting to relinquish. In case you’re wondering how many man games have been lost this season, it’s 237, which is a pretty astonishing number when you look at both the standings and at the names of the players who have been lost.

Through all of the injuries, Getzlaf has had to play with a rotating door of linemates. It’s no surprise that one of the best playmakers in the world can play just fine with nearly anyone on his line but he showed just how good he is and the effect he has when he’s on the ice by making the others on his line better.

"I think he was in on almost every goal that we scored, so obviously he had a great month," said coach Bruce Boudreau. "He played well when we had a lot of injuries and that’s what good captains do. They step up and carry the team on their back and that’s why our December was successful."

Getzlaf himself disputes the notion that he kept the team together. He didn’t play any different than he usually does, he just did his homework when it came to his new linemates, but it’s his ability to adjust to those linemates that makes him great.

"I went through some things where I had to do some different things and react to different linemates and make some adjustments in my game a little bit," he said. "I’ve been just trying to play. At the end of the day, it’s not about who’s out there with you, whoever is out there, you make it work and you find ways to use each other on the ice."

Scouting the Blues

It’s the final regular season meeting between Anaheim and the St. Louis Blues Friday night and the first two games have resulted in shutouts. The first, a 3-0 shutout at the Honda Center by the Ducks and the second, a 2-0 win by the Blues in St. Louis. 

Their goaltending has been revitalized by Martin Brodeur and the Blues have three capable guys they feel confident putting in the net in on any given night. 

It’s a frustrating matchup for the Ducks on many nights.

"They’re always wars," Boudreau said. "Not wars where there’s 300 minutes in penalties but wars where there’s the physical contests of corner battles and puck boards. Winning those battles has always been very intense."

Injury update

Kyle Palmieri (shoulder) was on the ice for the morning skate Friday morning but without the team running full line rushes, there’s nothing to indicate that Palmieri is a lock to play this weekend. Boudreau says he’s still a game-time decision. 

Palmieri himself if anxious to get back after two stints on the IR already this season.

"You can’t go out there thinking, ‘I just want to stay healthy,’" he said. "I want to play a certain brand of hockey and what it takes to be successful and win in this league is, you’ve got to go out there and play without holding back."