The Tampa Bay Lightning are a classy organization.
The Lightning showed their respect for Anaheim Ducks’ legend Ryan Getzlaf on Thursday night. Getzlaf recently announced he would be retiring from the NHL at the end of the 2021-22 season.
The Lightning and Ducks faced off for the last time this year at Amalie Arena on Thursday night. Tampa Bay right-winger Corey Perry and Anaheim centre Ryan Getzlaf took the opening faceoff in their final game on the ice together.
Perry rarely takes faceoffs, but he was able to win the draw for Tampa Bay against his good friend Getzlaf. The opening faceoff set the tone for what was an emotional night for Getzlaf playing some of his former teammates.
Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf take the opening faceoff in their last game on the ice together 🙌 pic.twitter.com/i1uEefsaaK
— Gino Hard (@Ginohard_) April 15, 2022
After the Bolts won the game in overtime, several Lightning players went to shake the hand of Getzlaf. Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos and defenseman Victor Hedman were among the players who paid their respects to Getzlaf.
The cool sportsmanship moment concluded with Perry and Getzlaf sharing a special embrace. The two former teammates spent 14 years playing together in Anaheim, including winning the Stanley Cup in 2007.
Perry and Getzlaf have the closest relationship, but Stamkos and Getzlaf also won an Olympic Gold together playing for Team Canada at the Olympics. Other players like Hedman gained their respect for Getzlaf by having to defend him throughout their career.
Getzlaf commented post-game about playing against Perry and former teammates for the last time in his NHL career.
“It was fun to be out there competing with a couple of guys I’ve played with,” Getzlaf said. “I’ve played other games against Perry, but it was great to get out there and play what will be my last game against him.”
Getzlaf had two assists in the game, but it wasn’t enough as the Bolts won the game 4-3 in overtime. The win clinched Tampa Bay a spot in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, so it’s cool the players still focused on Getzlaf after the victory.
The Ducks still have six games remaining in their 2021-22 schedule, so you can expect more players on opposing teams to pay their respects to the Anaheim legend before his career officially comes to an end on Friday, April 29th.