ANAHEIM, Calif. – Ryan Getzlaf celebrated his 30th birthday last Sunday with the only gift he really wanted: The Anaheim Ducks clinched a trip to the Western Conference finals.
His longtime linemate, Corey Perry, also turned 30 Saturday. After nearly half a lifetime together, Getzlaf knows exactly what to get him.
"Nothing," Getzlaf said. "Same thing he got me."
But to get back to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since winning it in 2007, they'll have to get past one of the few current NHL partnerships to have accomplished even more.
The Chicago Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane share many of the same serendipitous parallels in their own careers, also making simultaneous NHL breakthroughs and winning that first Stanley Cup title — and then another.
Two of hockey's best duos in a generation will meet in the postseason for the first time when the Ducks host the Blackhawks on Sunday at Honda Center.
All four forwards are among the NHL's top five playoff scorers this spring, and they relish the spotlight on their chance to add another banner to their growing list of accomplishments.
"This is the time of year that means the most to everybody, not just Getzy and me," Perry said, who cracked the Ducks' lineup in 2005 along with Getzlaf. "I think anytime you play against the best players in the world, you get a little bit more fired up."