Teemu Selanne scored the first goal of his 22nd NHL season, and the Anaheim Ducks extended the best start in franchise history with their fifth straight victory, 3-2 over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night.
Dustin Penner and Kyle Palmieri scored first-period goals, and Viktor Fasth made 33 saves for the defending Pacific Division champions, who have won five of their first six games for the first time in the club’s two-decade history.
Selanne’s 676th career goal late in the second period ended up providing the winning margin for the Ducks, who have won 17 consecutive home games against Calgary since Jan. 19, 2004.
Lee Stempniak scored a short-handed goal and Jiri Hudler got credit for a deflected goal early in the third period for Calgary.
Selanne scored on a breakaway, taking a slick pass from Jakob Silfverberg and beating Joey MacDonald between the legs. The 43-year-old Finnish Flash broke his stick moments earlier, but skated to the bench for new lumber before sneaking behind the Calgary defense for a score.
MacDonald stopped 19 shots for the Flames, who had four days off before opening a five-game trip. Calgary’s 3-0-2 start was the franchise’s best since the Atlanta Flames went unbeaten in their first 12 games of the 1978-79 season.
Calgary has lost 26 of its last 27 road games against Anaheim, its new division rivals under NHL realignment.
Fasth was strong after 10 days off in his tandem with Jonas Hiller, and though the Ducks managed less than half of their club-record 56 shots from Sunday’s win over Ottawa, they are a potent offensive team with 20 goals during their five-game streak.
Penner scored just 3:27 in, converting a cross-ice pass from captain Ryan Getzlaf for the second goal of the left wing’s return to Anaheim. Penner has already matched his goal total in 33 regular-season games last year with the Los Angeles Kings, although he came up bigger in the playoffs for the Ducks’ rivals.
Palmieri added to Anaheim’s lead with an exceptional effort later in the period, intercepting Chris Butler’s clearing attempt and getting off a wrist shot in the middle of four Flames in the slot. He beat MacDonald high to the stick side for his first goal of the season.
Calgary’s Tim Jackman got a game misconduct for butt-ending Sami Vatanen late in the first period, but the Flames got the only benefit from the five-minute Anaheim power play. Palmieri stumbled when a puck jumped over his stick near the blue line, and Stempniak scored on a clean short-handed breakaway.
The Ducks managed just three shots in those five minutes, dropping to an NHL-worst 1 for 22 on the power play this season.
After Selanne’s goal sent the Ducks into the third period with a two-goal lead, Hudler trimmed the Flames’ deficit when Kris Russell’s shot from the blue line deflected off his body and pinballed past Fasth for his third goal of the season.
NOTES: Calgary is playing in every NHL rink in California during its trip. … The officials waved off an apparent goal by Calgary C Joe Colborne late in the second period due to a high stick. … San Diego State men’s basketball coach Steve Fisher attended the game. The Aztecs will play in the Wooden Legacy tournament this fall, with the final slated for Dec. 1 at Honda Center.