ANAHEIM, Calif. - The Anaheim Ducks have always displayed a great deal of affection for their mustachioed tough guy, George Parros. They even persuaded the NHL to place his name on the Stanley Cup in 2007 despite the fact that he didn't play in the finals or appear in the required number of regular-season games.
So when Parros scored his second goal of the game Wednesday night against Florida, it was a big deal for everyone—including captain Ryan Getzlaf, who ended an eight-game goal drought in the Ducks' 5-3 victory.
"It was an awesome feeling," Parros said. "I'm glad our line could finally able to contribute. You can't just rely on the top two lines every night, so it definitely helps to chip in. I wanted the hat trick for sure. You could hear them getting crazy every time I toughed the ice in the third period."
It was the first two-goal game of Parros' six-year career. Both goals were set up by Kyle Chipchura, the first points of the season for Chipchura in 14 games. Bobby Ryan scored into an empty net in the final minute, securing Anaheim's third straight win after six consecutive losses and putting them into a tie with Dallas and Phoenix for the Pacific Division lead.
"Any time you have a player like George Parros go out and score a couple of goals, everybody feels real good for him," coach Randy Carlyle said. "I think it's a huge bonus for him, specifically, and it creates a lot of enthusiasm for your group. Everybody was wondering why I didn't have him out there with the net empty. But the two points are more important than George's third goal.
Parros, who came in with 27 total points and 750 penalty minutes in his previous 314 NHL games, opened the scoring at 14:05 of the first. Chipchura took it away from defenceman Dmitry Kulikov and set up Parros in the slot for a short wrist shot that beat Tomas Vokoun high to the glove side. Just four seconds after the ensuing faceoff, Parros and Darcy Hordichuk got into a fight.
"My linemates were out there before I was and I came out on a change," Parros said. "They were forechecking pretty hard and doing a good job of controlling the puck down low. Kyle Chipchura broke free and I was yelling at him from the slot. He found me, the puck hit the heel of my stick and kind of fluttered over his glove."
Getzlaf made it 2-0 with at 6:04 of the second with his eighth goal and first since Nov. 12.
Parros gave Anaheim a three-goal cushion 50 seconds later with his third goal of the season.
"We put the puck in their zone and went to work, instead of trying to be cute with it," Carlyle said. "We had a very workmanlike attitude toward tonight's game, and it was a credit to our players."
Getzlaf and Corey Perry each had a goal and an assist, and Jonas Hiller made 29 saves for the Ducks after shutting out the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night.
Steve Bernier had two power play-goals in his return to Florida's lineup and Mike Santorelli also scored. Bernier played for the first time since Nov. 12, when he was struck in the face by the butt end of Brent Burns' stick at the conclusion of a win over Minnesota. Bernier had surgery to repair an orbital bone near his right eye and missed eight games. Burns received a two-game suspension.
Anaheim rookie Cam Fowler was serving a delay-of-game penalty when the Panthers got on the board at 8:08 of the second—ending an 0-for-37 drought on the power play. Santorelli converted a rebound during Florida's first opportunity with the man advantage.
Bernier redirected a shot by Stephen Weiss from above the left circle with 18:40 remaining to cut Anaheim's lead to 3-2, but Perry countered with his 12th goal with 17:45 to play.
The Panthers, who have the worst power-play percentage in the NHL with seven goals in 80 chances, cashed in again on their only other chance with the man advantage as Bernier converted a rebound with 1:07 left.
"Your job in front of the net is to screen the goalie," Bernier said. "Sometimes the puck is going to hit you and sometimes it's not, but your job doesn't change. You have to help your team score goals, and that's all that counts. We didn't play well enough to win, but we scored two goals on the power play."
NOTES: The Ducks, who entered the NHL in 1993-94 along with the Panthers, have won 55 more regular-season games than their expansion cousins—and a Stanley Cup. ... Anaheim's only power-play chance came after the Panthers got a bench minor at 6:09 of the first for having too many men on the ice.