VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Teemu Selanne and the Anaheim Ducks looked ready to go after the NHL lockout.
The same could not be said for Vancouver goalie Cory Schneider.
The 42-year-old Selanne had two goals and two assists to help make Schneider’s first season-opening start a short one, and Anaheim thumped the Canucks 7-3 on Saturday night.
“He defies age on certain nights,” Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. “A 42-year-old getting four points in an NHL game … it’s quite amazing.”
Selanne, the NHL’s oldest player, is beginning his 20th NHL season. He was on the ice for 15:08 against the Canucks and became the first NHL player to have four points in a game at age 42 since Gordie Howe in February 1971 against Buffalo.
Another old-timer, 40-year-old Jaromir Jagr, also had two goals and two assists as Dallas beat Phoenix on opening night.
“Way to go old boys,” Selanne quipped. “Most of the nights you feel it’s a young guy’s game.”
Selanne’s 249th power-play goal tied him for third on the NHL career list with Hall of Famer Phil Esposito. His two assists were the products of crafty moves on power-play faceoffs.
“Physically, health-wise, I feel great,” Selanne said. “But I know I need at least four or five games to get my legs back.
“To be honest, I can’t wait until I start feeling good because it is going to be way more fun than this.”
Daniel Winnik added two goals for the Ducks while Sheldon Souray, Corey Perry and Kyle Palmieri also scored. Jonas Hiller made 26 saves for the win.
“I thought we had really good balance,” Boudreau said. “And at the beginning, I think that’s what you need to win, because you could see that both teams were pretty tired in spurts there.”
Schneider was pulled after allowing goals to Perry and Palmieri 11 seconds apart early in the second period that capped a trio of Anaheim goals about three minutes apart.
Winnik started the scoring spree with his second goal of the game.
“I’ve learned that, in a market like this, you have to be accountable and responsible, and you have to perform well in the crease,” Schneider said. “Tonight, I didn’t perform well in the crease.”
Schneider, who signed a three-year, $12 million contract last summer, allowed five goals on 14 shots.
Roberto Luongo, who was expected to be traded after he was replaced as Vancouver’s starter in last year’s playoffs, stopped 10 of 12 shots in relief. He was greeted by a loud cheer and a chorus of “Looo” when he entered at 6:37 of the second period with the Canucks trailing 5-2.
“Obviously, it’s not the way we want to start off the year,” said Luongo, who said after last season he would waive his no-trade clause if asked. “It’s disappointing for everybody. The best thing to do right now is just learn and get better. We were a little bit sloppy at times.”
Dan Hamhuis, Daniel Sedin and Alex Edler scored for the Canucks.
Anaheim converted all three of its power-play chances, while Vancouver was 2 for 4.
“It doesn’t matter what market I was in,” Schneider said about being in the spotlight. “If I played this way, it would be unacceptable anywhere in the world. So I’m not too concerned about where I am right now.”
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault declined to say who would start in goal for Vancouver on Sunday when the Canucks host Edmonton.
“I’m going to talk to my starting goaltender soon and they will definitely know before you know,” he said. “This game is about performance and at the time I pulled Schneids I thought it was the right thing to do for the team.”
The one-sided loss spoiled a festive pregame atmosphere as the NHL returned to Vancouver following the lockout.
The work stoppage had no effect on Vancouver’s attendance as the Canucks drew their 409th consecutive sellout, which let out a loud roar once the national anthems were performed. Some fans sported signs welcoming players back after their long layoff.
All fans received free scarves, and the Canucks gave away game-worn jerseys. Adults were offered one free beer per person. The team also held a draw for a team road trip giveaway on the Canucks’ chartered airplane with players and offered a 50 percent discount on all team merchandise.
Before the game, Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis thanked fans for their patience, support and loyalty, but did not apologize for the 119-day lockout.
Canucks captain Henrik Sedin made similar comments and vowed: “We’ll do our best to make this a season to remember.”
Winnik opened the scoring at 6:31 of the first as he deflected Saku Koivu’s shot past Schneider.
Hamhuis tied the score 1-1 at 9:53 off a pass from Jannik Hansen, who got credit for another assist on Daniel Sedin’s power-play goal at 11:23.
The 42-year-old Selanne, who started his 20th season, was off for holding at the time but made up for his miscue with an assist on Souray’s goal at 15:23 of the first.
Winnik gave the Ducks a 3-2 lead at 3:33 of the second as he completed a three-way passing play with Koivu and Andrew Cogliano. Perry and Palmieri staked the Ducks to a 5-2 lead as they scored just 11 seconds apart.
That was it for Schneider, and Luongo held off the Ducks until the final minute of the second period when Selanne scored on a shot from the side of the net.
The veteran winger added his second goal only 22 seconds after Edler had scored to make it 6-3.
“I felt that I should have both of those goals,” Luongo said. “But in general, I felt pretty good. I think I made some good saves. I was seeing the puck pretty well. If only (Selanne) could retire now, I’d be all set.”
Luongo also expressed confidence in Schneider.
“The kid’s got a tremendous amount of talent,” he said. “I mean, I’m not worried about him at all. He’s so strong mentally that he’s going to have no problem bouncing back whatsoever. He’ll be ready to play whenever the next game is for him.”
Despite the loss, Luongo is enjoying what are expected to be his final days with the Canucks.
“That’s the beauty of it,” he said. “You never know where it’s going to go or what’s going to happen next.”