ANAHIEM, Calif. – Two months ago, it would have been ludicrous to think that the Anaheim Ducks wouldn't be major sellers at the trade deadline.
Their season was in tatters and all their stars not named Teemu Selanne were seemingly on the table.
Who foresaw that that Sunday's 3-1 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks might be the final justification for not making a major move before Monday's trade deadline?
Anaheim gave general manager Bob Murray plenty to chew on after it ran off three straight goals and avoided a letdown following one of the most successful road trips in club history.
Selanne scored his 658th career goal and assisted on Sheldon Brookbank's go-ahead goal as the Ducks improved to 8-1-2 over the past 11 games. They sit six points out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference, but are playing some of the best hockey in the League.
"I think the team's put Bob Murray in a tough position doing what we've done in the last month and a half," Bobby Ryan said. "It's a pretty good group. No one wants to leave it."
Some change might be coming to Chicago as its' only bright spot seemed to be ending an 0-for-39 power-play drought.
The Blackhawks went 0-2 on their Southern California swing and have dropped three of four games without captain Jonathan Toews.
Chicago was outshot, 13-5, in the second period, and registered only nine shots in the final 40 minutes.
"Offensively we're not doing much right now," said Patrick Kane, who scored the lone goal in the past two games for Chicago. "It's nice to get one on the power play, so hopefully that gives us a little bit of momentum. We need some contributions from everyone. You can always say you need your best players to be your best players. That's something that we need to get better at too, including myself."
The Blackhawks gave the Ducks a 5-on-3 advantage with hooking penalties by Dave Bolland and Jamal Mayers that produced Anaheim's third goal.
Selanne one-timed Ryan Getzlaf's pass from the left circle for his 21st goal this season and team-leading 55th point.
Selanne, 41, moved past Luc Robitaille for 20th on the all-time points list with 1,395 and his 246th power play goal is one shy of Robitaille for fourth on the all-time power-play goals list.
More important to Selanne is that Anaheim is on everybody's radar, from 13th place, with 20 games to go.
"I'm enjoying every second of it now," he said. "When you go through some tough times like we did in the first half, you really believe what’s happening here. When it turns around, it has been unbelievable. Fun. That's why we all play. You try to keep pushing and enjoy this."
The Ducks played their first home game in 17 days after they went 5-1-2 on an eight-game, 7,000-mile road trip.
They dominated the second period with long sequences in Chicago's zone and it paid off in the form of Brookbank's career-high second goal this season.
Selanne set him up with a great pass from down low, and Brookbank's shot deflected off Duncan Keith and through former Ducks goalie Ray Emery.
Brookbank, a physical depth defenseman who has quietly put together a solid season, has two goals in five games after he went 167 games without scoring.
"It always feels good when you get the win and you are a part of it," said Brookbank, who recorded his first game-winning goal. "I could tell you a lot of stories of goals called back. Maybe I have more confidence now."
Anaheim grabbed momentum when Andrew Cogliano tied it at 1 with 19.9 seconds remaining in the first period on a goal that was initially waved off.
Cogliano was alone in the crease to get Nick Bonino's rebound, and he kicked the puck toward the net before a lengthy review determined he whacked it through Emery's pads with his stick.
It was Cogliano's first goal since his hat trick on Jan.31.
Kane delivered Chicago's first power-play goal since Jan.24 – a span of 13 games – with a wrist shot from the right side that made it through with Mayers screening Jonas Hiller.
"It seems like sometimes we get the lead, especially two out of the last three games, you get a 1-0 lead and you're kind of satisfied with that," Kane said. "I think at that point, we definitely have to keep the pressure on, keep going, try to extend the lead a little bit."
The announced attendance of 17,601 (tickets sold) was the largest ever for the Ducks at Honda Center, according to the team.
1 - 0 CHI
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 ANA