It is a rare instance when Teemu Selanne doesn’t see much ice time during a pivotal part of a game, but that was just the case Tuesday when he saw only 2-1/2 minutes of action in the third period of the Ducks’ win over Minnesota.
Selanne played a season-low 13 minutes, 27 seconds and Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said it was his call to sit him while the Ducks came back against the Wild, saying “it just looked like it wasn’t his night.”
Just 24 hours later, the 41-year-old winger responded by scoring his 656th career goal to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1, to give the Ducks their 14th victory in the last 19 games and close them within six points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The goal tied Selanne with Brendan Shanahan for 12th place on the NHL’s all-time goal scoring list. It also put him into 21st place with 1,392 points, passing Brett Hull.
“That’s why we rested him a little bit yesterday, so he had that energy to do that,” Boudreau said. “He’s been doing that his whole life. When you needed something big, he was there to get something big. You need that.”
Selanne said he had no issue with being benched for defensive purposes during five-on-five play.
“I missed probably three shifts,” he said. “That’s nothing. To be honest, I was dead tired for some reason. And it happens. A lot of times when you feel like that, it’s not the greatest place to be.
“This is about team effort. Everybody has done the job. That’s what makes this team special.”
Selanne said it was the first time in “a long, long time” where he felt like his age but that the rest turned into his favor Wednesday as he had extra energy to use. He showed that when he broke free in the third period to convert a backhand shot.
As for Boudreau’s willingness to pull the ice time of star players if they’re not going well in a particular game, Selanne said, “That’s how it should be.
“I don’t care who you are,” he continued. “He has done that with (Alex) Ovechkin many times. It’s all about how you respond to that. I’m old enough to just move on. I know that if I get one bad night every 20 games, I take it.
“He came to me after the game and said, ‘Teemu, I don’t think you had it tonight.’ I said, ‘Hey, I’m the first guy to say that.'”
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said the way Selanne responded “should show a lesson to everybody.”
“It’s huge,” Getzlaf said. “That stuff doesn’t go unnoticed in the locker room. A guy that age, he came back tonight. He didn’t pout. He didn’t whine. Last night, he was still the same guy after a win.
“To come back tonight and play the way he did, it makes us proud of him.”
–Rookie right wing Devante Smith-Pelly has returned to the Ducks after a conditioning assignment with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch. Smith-Pelly, 19, played in four games with the Crunch and recorded one assist and two penalty minutes. The winger had been out since Dec. 26, when he suffered a broken left foot while blocking a shot against Finland in the World Junior Championships. Smith-Pelly’s last game with the Ducks came on Dec. 8 against St. Louis; he scored a goal in a 4-2 loss to the Blues. He has three goals and two assists in 26 games after making the club out of training camp. “He didn’t set the world on fire,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “But his whole goal was to get back into game shape, being out with the broken foot and all.” –Just as he did at this point last season, Corey Perry is heating up and finding the net with regularity. Perry scored his team-leading 28th goal late the second period, giving him six goals in his last five games. He also had 28 goals after 57 games a year ago before he exploded down the stretch to finish with a career-high 50 and win the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player. “Pears has always been able to play at a certain level at certain times,” Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. “That’s what has made him the player he is. He’s been able to play at the big times. We’ll count on him to keep doing the same thing.” QUOTE TO NOTE: “Even in my short tenure here, nothing he does surprises me. And he makes it look so easy. There’s a reason he’s got a jillion goals in this league. He does that, and he does it so smoothly. When you’re 41 and you’re doing that in back-to-back games on the road with all the travel we’ve done, that says a lot for him.” — Ducks coach Bruce Boudreu on Teemu Selanne.
ROSTER REPORT PLAYER NOTES: –RW Corey Perry scored for the third consecutive game and now has six goals in his last five contests. Perry has 28 goals in the Ducks’ 57 games, which is the same number he had last season after the same number of games. –D Luca Sbisa got an assist against Pittsburgh, giving him six points over his last eight games. Sbisa has three goals and 17 assists this season and every point that he collects is a new career high. –D Sheldon Brookbank picked up an assist against Pittsburgh, giving him eight this season. Brookbank is having a bounce-back year as he has appeared in 55 of a possible 57 games after playing in only 40 last season and recording no points. –G Jonas Hiller stopped 25 of 26 shots to win for the 11th time in his last 16 starts. Hiller is 11-2-3 over that span and has allowed two or fewer goals in 13 of those games. MEDICAL WATCH: –G Dan Ellis continues to rehabilitate after tearing his groin muscle during a Jan. 7 practice. Ellis began skating last week and was expected to start a stretching regimen. He is out indefinitely. GOALTENDERS: –Jonas Hiller –Jeff Deslauriers DEFENSE PAIRINGS: –Francois Beauchemin, Cam Fowler –Luca Sbisa, Lubomir Visnovsky –Toni Lydman, Sheldon Brookbank FIRST LINE: –LW Jason Blake, C Ryan Getzlaf, RW Corey Perry SECOND LINE: –LW Bobby Ryan, C Saku Koivu, RW Teemu Selanne THIRD LINE: –LW Matt Beleskey, C Nick Bonino, RW Andrew Cogliano FOURTH LINE: –LW Niklas Hagman, C Rod Pelley, RW George Parros