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Jokerit Is No Joke

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
With so much hoopla surrounding Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu and Toni Lydman returning to Finland -- and Selanne playing against his former Jokerit team -- the Ducks almost forgot one important thing: to win the damn hockey game.


According to what we heard on the radio broadcast (unfortunately, no TV for this one) a 3-1 Ducks lead in the third quickly turned into a 3-3 tie when two guys named Riku Hahl and Ben Eaves struck in the third period. But the Ducks pulled out the victory when Corey Perry somehow tapped the puck to Ryan Getzlaf in the slot and he roofed it 1:13 into the extra session.

That goal comes at the end of this highlight package, where you'll see Getzlaf's rather subdued reaction to netting the game-winner. Along with that clinching assist, Perry had two goals in the first to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead. Cam Fowler also scored with seconds remaining in the second to make it 3-1.

Jokerit, which came into the game 6-0-1 on its Finnish Elite League season, actually outshot the Ducks 33-24 in the game, including 27-16 in the second and third periods. But Jonas Hiller (who went the whole way) made a ton of big stops to keep things close, shutting out Jokerit for the first 38:56. (You could tell by the number of times Steve Carroll gave his patented "SHOOTS!!!" yell followed by a Hiller save.)

When Jokerit scored those two goals to send it to OT, and threatened to knock off the Ducks in extra time, I couldn't help but think of the Apollo Creed-Ivan Drago fight when Creed's trainer yells, "What are you guys doing? This is supposed to be an exhibition! You understand? An EXHIBITION!!"

More than the Ducks getting the W, this game was all about Selanne returning to his homeland, and you can see part of the pregame ceremony for him on that video linked above. There's something about that shot of him in the tunnel peeking up at the scoreboard that is kind of cool. Also, this photo to the right is fairly spectacular.

We've got more photos from the game here.

Selanne didn't score a goal in the game -- assuring that the roof of Hartwall Areena didn't literally fly off -- but he did assist on Perry's second goal. "It was a special night," Selanne said. "I really enjoyed being in the game. It was tough for us, but it was a nice experience."

(Still feels weird to hear it referred to as "night" when we were listening to the game starting at 9 a.m. Pacific.)

This was from Corey Masisak's game story on NHL.com:

The 13,349 in attendance got loud when injured defenseman
Toni Lydman was announced after Anaheim’s non-Finnish players came on the ice, then it was a roar for national team captain Saku Koivu. Just before Selanne’s name was announced there were some old highlights of him playing for Jokerit on the scoreboard, and the fans began to stand up.

When Selanne’s name was announced, it sounded like a goal had just been scored by the home team in a Stanley Cup Final game. He skated onto the ice and waved to the crowd before joining his team along the blue line -- and then he had to wave again two more times because the ovation lasted so long.

"It was awesome," Selanne said. "I didn’t really know what to expect, but obviously when I stepped on the ice it was unbelievable. The fans were great, and it was something that I will always remember."

The second-best thing about Getzlaf lighting that Helsinkian lamp in OT (aside from the Ducks win) is that it finally signaled the end of the preseason. Now we get into the games that count, starting Friday night against the Sabres in that same arena. That game will be televised locally on Prime Ticket, with the Saturday game in Stockholm against the Rangers (who just put Sean Avery on waivers, btw) airing on Versus.

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