Bobby Ryan’s overtime penalty shot goal against Detroit on Wednesday did more than boost the Ducks’ spirits and keep them in the pack of teams jostling for playoff spots in the congested Western Conference.
The goal was the 30th this season for the dynamic winger, his third straight season at a level usually reached only by pure scorers. Ryan, who will turn 24 on March 17, is on pace to surpass the career-high 35 goals and 64 points he scored last season. That’s solid progress considering he scored only two goals in 16 games starting Dec. 3 and ending with a two-goal game against Columbus on Jan. 7.
“When you look at a season and set goals beforehand, that’s the point you want to hit. That’s keeping it consistent,” Ryan said after the Ducks’ morning skate in preparation for their game Friday against Dallas at the Honda Center.
“I thought it was a possibility for me a little early out and just tried to continue my pace throughout the year and tried to put up numbers in that regard, but it’s not something I’ll think about now that it’s done and gone. I’ll try and push for 35 or whatever it was that I had last year and try and get continually a little better.”
The record for most consecutive 30-goal seasons is 15, set by Mike Gartner from the 1979-80 season through the 1993-94 season with Washington, Minnesota, New York Rangers and Toronto. The career record for most 30-goal seasons is also held by Gartner, with 17 in 19 seasons.
“I’ve got a long way to go,” Ryan said, smiling.
“It’s not something I’ll think about by any means but I think it’s a fairly consistent number. I’d like to try and hit it every year. I’m playing with some pretty good players so I know the puck’s going to find me and I’m going to get those chances. As long as I continue to shoot the puck the right way and get to the front of the net, I’ll find them.”
Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle, who rarely doles out compliments, said Ryan had only begun to make the most of his talents.