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Ducks forward Selanne hasn't lost scoring touch

by Corey Masisak

LOS ANGELES -- As Teemu Selanne leaned against the wall adjoined to his stall in the visiting dressing room at Staples Center, one media member asked him if he is appreciating the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs more because his career is "winding down."

Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf walked past and shouted, "Just winding up, T!"

The guy who goes by "T" in the Anaheim locker room might still be committed to his retirement plan, but at age 43, Selanne is proving he's not quite ready to be done playing hockey just yet.

Selanne scored the go-ahead goal for the Ducks against the Los Angeles Kings in a 3-2 victory Thursday at Staples Center in this Western Conference Second Round Series. He has two goals in this series, which resumes Saturday (9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS), and four points in his past four games.

"Every moment. It's awesome," Selanne said. "I feel good. I've always said the playoffs is the best time for a hockey player. I try to enjoy it. We know everybody has to raise their level."

This hasn't been the easiest season for Selanne, who has dealt with reduced playing time and diminished statistics after one of the greatest careers in the history of the sport. He was even a healthy scratch for a game in the opening round against the Dallas Stars.

After he returned against Dallas, he made a difference. He had two assists in Game 6 against the Stars and could have two game-winning goals in this series against the Kings. He put the Ducks in front 2-1 in Game 1, but Marian Gaborik scored with seven seconds left in regulation and in overtime.

His Game 3 goal lost its game-winning status after Kings center Mike Richards batted the puck out of the air and into the net with 30.8 seconds left to make it a 3-2 final, giving the Ducks their first victory.

"It seems like the more important the games get, the better he plays," Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller said. "I've been around long enough and I know how excited he is about hockey. He brings that every night. He proved it again tonight that even at his age he's one of the best goal-scorers."

Anaheim and Los Angeles traded power-play goals before Selanne made it a 2-1 game. The Ducks had nearly a minute of 4-on-3 time but were unable to score. They still had 61 seconds of 5-on-4 play, but for much of the time, they looked disoriented and the Kings were able to keep the puck out of their zone.

But two L.A. players collided in the neutral zone, and the puck squirted free to Ducks center Nick Bonino. He and Selanne skated in on goaltender Jonathan Quick on a 2-on-1, and Selanne didn't miss when Bonino saucered a pass to him near the right post.

"It was at the end of the shift," Selanne said. "It was a good bounce for us that led to a 2-on-1 and Bonino makes an unbelievable pass and it was quite easy to put that one in. I'd like to see more of those."

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau added, "A really great pass. But the reason Selanne has got almost 700 goals is because he goes to the net and he stops. That's where the puck was and that's why he put it in."

Selanne finished the regular season with nine goals and 27 points, both career-lows for him in a full season. If this truly is it for the future Hockey Hall of Famer, he'll finish with 684 career goals and 1,457 points in the regular season.

He's also had an incredible international career, and this season added another chapter to that legacy. Selanne had four goals and six points in six games to help Finland earn a bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He was named MVP of the tournament.

The Finnish Flash looked like his old self in Sochi. He was logging top-line minutes, and the smile that has made him one of the sport's most beloved figures rarely left his face.

Selanne has been in a similar mood during this Freeway Faceoff series.

"It is very similar. You know every game is huge," Selanne said. "When I played 21 years, regular season is regular season but playoffs is the time when everything matters. It's the same thing in the Olympics. You want to lay everything out there and leave everything on the ice. That's the approach I have and everybody has, but me especially because I know this is going to be my last one. You have to just take everything in and enjoy it. It's awesome."

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