Selanne tallies No. 656 in Ducks' win over Pens
Wednesday, 02.15.2012 / 9:42 PMPITTSBURGH --
Mark another arena off Teemu Selanne
's checklist. And cross another difficult road opponent off the streaking Anaheim Ducks
’ to-do list, too.
Selanne broke a tie with his 656th career goal, tying him with Brendan Shanahan for 12th place in NHL history, and the Ducks came from behind for the second night in a row to cool off the Pittsburgh Penguins
with a 2-1 decision Wednesday night at Consol Energy Center.
The Ducks trailed 1-0 in the third period Tuesday in Minnesota before also winning 2-1, the first time all season they came back to win after trailing after two periods. This time, Corey Perry
scored in the final minute of the second period to tie it and the 41-year-old Selanne won it by scoring at 7:51 of the third period.
With the teams tied at 1, the Penguins -- 11-2-1 in their previous 14 games -- pressured in the Ducks' end for three-quarters of a minute only to have Anaheim mount on a 3-on-1 rush the other way with forward James Neal
the only defender.
Selanne, who was close to being offside on the play, skated hard to the net before whistling a backhander inside the far post for his 19th goal.
"I don't know the length of that shift – it might have gotten closer to a minute's length," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "They were able to get a turnover, and (defenseman Matt) Niskanen was gassed from the shift. They got an opportunity with speed and, with Selanne, we've seen that one before."
So has the rest of the NHL. As Selanne said, "I've done that move a thousand times in games and practices."
"He's been doing that his whole life," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Teemu is there to get something big, and you need that."
Selanne, whose speed hasn't diminished even though he is five months away from his 42nd birthday, took off as soon as he saw a dead-tired Matt Beleskey
's backhand pass coming his way.
"They were controlling the puck pretty good in our end, their d-men were joining the rush and were in pretty deep, so when we got the turnaround, I knew not many guys were back," Selanne said. "Matt made a great pass and (I) was able to get free."
Playing in his first game in Consol, Selanne scored in his 53rd NHL arena during a superlative career that began 20 years ago. He has scored in every arena except the Prudential Center in Newark, where he plays Friday night against the Devils, and the MTS Centre in Winnipeg.
"This is a great building, but the old building (the Civic Arena) was pretty good to me, too," said Selanne, who has 13 goals in 21 career games against Pittsburgh.
The same can't be said of the Ducks, who won in Pittsburgh for the first time in five tries since Oct. 6, 2001. The Ducks, seemingly in dire straits after a 6-13-4 start, have climbed to within six points of the Western Conference's final playoff spot by going 14-2-3 in their last 19 and 3-1 to date on an eight-game, two-week road trip.
"I was pretty proud of our guys to show that. It's not an easy thing when you're on this long of a road trip and playing back-to-back games and playing in one of the hardest buildings in the League," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf
said. "Everybody wants to bury us and get us out of the way, but the guys are doing a great job of fighting through it."
And the Ducks' assignment was about as tough as it gets these days in the NHL. They knew they had to slow down the streaking Evgeni Malkin
in his own building while playing an opponent that came in with an 8-1-3 record against the Western Conference
But the Ducks pulled it off, ending Malkin's streak of scoring in eighth consecutive home games as goalie Jonas Hiller
made 25 saves. Hiller is 12-2-3 in his last 17 starts.
Malkin, the NHL scoring leader with 69 points, had scored 17 goals in his previous 17 games.
"Geno was still buzzing around making great plays, but we didn't make the extra pass here or there, and maybe we need to put a few more pucks on the net," Penguins forward Chris Kunitz
Malkin had seven points in his previous two games, but was kept off the scoresheet for only the third time at home all season.
"You can't stop him, but he can't score every night," said Boudreau, the former Capitals coach who is 2-0 in Pittsburgh this season. "He hit the crossbar and he had opportunities -- he's such a good player. But we got lucky and he didn't score."
Pittsburgh had rallied in each of its six consecutive wins at home, four times from multiple-goal deficits, so maybe it wasn't the best sign for them when they took the early lead.
Staal, a force since returning last weekend from a 15-game layoff with a left knee injury, took Pascal Dupuis
' pass along the boards in stride and cut through the right circle to beat Hiller at 6:27 of the first for his 17th goal.
Giving up the opening goal didn't rattle Hiller on Tuesday and it didn't get to him in this one, either, despite the Penguins' 11-2-1 record in their previous 14 games.
Outshot 13-8 by the fresher Penguins in the first period – Pittsburgh hadn't played since Sunday – the Ducks rediscovered their game legs in the second period and began dominating play.
They tied it when Perry, last year's NHL MVP, skated past defenseman Zbynek Michalek
to beat Marc-Andre Fleury
with a wrist shot from in close with 52 seconds left in a period in which the Ducks outshot the Penguins 13-7.
Perry's goal was his fifth in three games – he had a hat trick Sunday in Columbus – and his team-high 28th, and the timing couldn't have been much better, either. The Penguins had been 18-0-2 when leading after two periods.
"This game was huge for us," Selanne said. "They came out pretty hard and were controlling the game in the first period and then we got into the game."
Fleury, 10-1-1 in his previous 12 starts, finished with 27 saves. He hadn't lost at home in regulation since a 3-1 loss to New Jersey on Jan. 7.