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Selanne thrills Winnipeg hockey fans one more time

Finnish Flash buries late penalty shot for the win

by Mitchell Clinton @MClinton007 /

A man known for a 76-goal rookie season in the NHL left a lasting memory on Winnipeg Jets fans with just one more.

He ultimately would score two in the game, but Teemu Selanne's penalty shot goal with less than a minute remaining in regulation got the crowd of 31,317 on their feet, as the Winnipeg Jets alumni skated to a 6-5 win over the Edmonton Oilers alumni.

"It's amazing. Obviously I've always had a great relationship with the fans and people here. So it was really special. And I knew (I was) going to score, too, so it's a good feeling," Selanne joked postgame.

Video: Heritage Alumni: Selanne's game-winning penalty shot

Selanne and linemate Kris King each scored twice in the win, while team captain Dale Hawerchuk and Mike Eagles added singles for the Jets.

In four seasons with the Jets, King had a total of 25 goals.

"I actually think the pressures of paying for money was the biggest reason. Once they stopped paying me I found my hands again," King grinned.

"But I know Teemu wanted to play me all those years but (former Winnipeg Jets coach) John Paddock wouldn't agree."

Video: Heritage Alumni: King scores off Selanne's feed

Mark Messier lit the lamp twice for Edmonton, both times with beautiful wrist shots. Craig Simpson, BJ MacDonald, and Craig MacTavish also scored for Edmonton.

The Jets offense seemed unstoppable early on, as the line of Selanne, Kris King, and Dale Hawerchuk each lit the lamp to build a 3-0 Winnipeg lead.

Selanne got the crowd on their feet just over four minutes in on a penalty shot, when his fake to the forehand, top corner on the back hand deke beat Bill Ranford to open the scoring.

King would extend the lead five minutes later, when his initial shot sat just outside the blue paint. King flipped it over the outstretched arms of Ranford to up the lead to 2-0.

Shortly after, Selanne left the puck for a trailing Hawerchuk, who unleashed a wrister top corner on Ranford.

With the score 3-1 after a snipe from Messier, Eagles made good on a 2-on-1 opportunity, taking a pass and rifling a wrist shot over the two pad stack of Ranford.

"We wanted to sort of keep it close. Then when we got up 4-1, they were like, when are we keeping it close?" Hawerchuk laughed. "I said, well, you guys are built for comebacks, and of course they did."

Video: Heritage Alumni: Eagles rips home Lukowich's feed

The second period was all Oilers. Daniel Berthiaume was able to turn away an early penalty shot from Esa Tikkanen, but Craig Simpson's attempt only a few minutes later got by Berthiaume on the backhand. Messier's second of the night would come next, off another wrist shot from the top of the circle. Craig MacTavish would complete the come back in the middle frame, squeaking a backhand through the body of Berthiaume.

"Nobody loses their competitiveness. Nobody loses their mind for the game and the thought process for the game and knowing where people are, it's just that the conditioning and the leg strength you need in order to execute things is just not there," said Messier.

"Just trying to figure out a way to climb back and get back into the game and make a game of it. It was exciting for everyone."

In the third, MacDonald was in the right place at the right time. Hanging out near the crease, a MacTavish feed found it's way across Berthiaume, and MacDonald made no mistake.

Video: Heritage Alumni: Jets captain Hawerchuk lights lamp

Before Selanne sealed the win, he factored in on the tying goal. With the clock dwindling to under three minutes, Selanne put the puck toward the net from a sharp angle, and the rebound made its way out to King, who one-timed it past the Oilers netminder.

For Winnipeg hockey fans, it was the perfect end to a nostalgic night at Investors Group Field. In the mind of Hawerchuk, it couldn't have ended any better.

"The way it finished, I'm so happy for our fans. And the reception they gave everybody, all these players deserve it.

"Our fans got what they wanted today. And I'm happy for them."

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