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Ducks veteran Selanne raising his game vs. Kings

Sunday, 05.04.2014 / 5:54 PM

By Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent / Ducks-Kings series blog

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Ducks-Kings series blog
Ducks veteran Selanne raising his game vs. Kings

ANAHEIM -- The symmetry was perfect for Teemu Selanne. His goal came at 8:08 of the third period, and it was his 43rd career goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Selanne, 43, wears No. 8. He scored what would have been the game-winning goal in the first postseason game between his Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings.

"I didn't know that," Selanne said. "That would be nice."

It would have been fitting because Selanne has played in more Ducks-Kings games than any other player (106). But Los Angeles scored with seven seconds left in regulation before it won in overtime to take Game 1 of the historic Western Conference Second Round series. Game 2 is Monday night at Honda Center (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Selanne and the Ducks replayed the loss in their heads well into the night and put it behind them Sunday knowing they played well enough to win. They also rested knowing that Selanne is on an uptick after he scored his first goal of this postseason and first since March 23.

"It felt great," Selanne said. "I haven't scored for a while, so it was pretty special. But I'm feeling pretty good though. That's the key. I think our line played pretty well. I thought everyone played pretty well last night.

"I don't think we had too many weak links [Saturday] night. I thought we deserved better than that, but it's hockey and the goals matter, and I just thought we couldn't put the game away. [Monday] is a new opportunity."

Selanne also delivered two hits on 6-foot-3, 222-pound Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr, known as one of the tougher players in the NHL. One of the hits got Regehr against the end boards and knocked him out of the game.

"His physical play – wow," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf joked about Selanne. "He knocked Regehr down [Saturday] night. That was impressive."

It had many wondering the last time Selanne knocked a player out of a game. Selanne said he can roll out that part of his game when needed.

"It's the playoffs and it's more physical hockey," Selanne said. "Through the year, maybe that's not my style, but I can play physical too."

Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau was glad to see the physical and offensive parts of Selanne's game return after an awkward period last month. Boudreau made the unpopular decision to bench Selanne in Game 4 of the Western Conference First Round series against the Dallas Stars and had to answer a lot of questions about it.

On Sunday, Boudreau answered questions about Selanne's uptick.

"I think the last two games, he's been really good," Boudreau said. "He's found a little bit of a fountain of youth. He's hitting guys, which isn't really his game, but [he] is committed to the cause. Hopefully … he can do the same thing for us [Monday]."

With the newness of the first Ducks-Kings playoff game settling in, each side is bracing for exactly what they expected of their rival. Anaheim can lean on Selanne's experience in shaking off difficult losses, and the loss Saturday was the Ducks' first at home in four postseason games.

Selanne is in the twilight of his career and he's soaking up every ray of light.

"There are no secrets between these two teams," Selanne said. "They are very close matches, tight, low scoring, and you just have to do the little things better. It can go either way. It's going to be interesting. That's what hockey is all about. We've been waiting for this matchup for a long time, the same as the fans, so let's enjoy it."

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