DENVER – Teemu Selanne wasn't in the mood to celebrate his latest accomplishment Monday night, passing fellow Finn and childhood idol Jari Kurri to move into sole possession of 19th place on the NHL's all-time scoring list.
The Anaheim Ducks' seemingly ageless right wing – he's 41 and in his 20th NHL season – collected his 1,399th career point with a power-play goal in the third period in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.
But Selanne, who had a picture of Kurri on his bedroom wall when he was growing up, is more concerned about trying to help his team get into the Western Conference playoffs than he is in personal milestones.
"We can't lose any games," he said. "I felt this game was in our control. I thought we were the better team, but that doesn't mean anything. The goals matter. What are you going to do?"
The Ducks picked up a point in the standings, but they've lost three games in a row, are in a 2-5-1 rut and have fallen nine points behind the eighth-place Avalanche with 12 games remaining in a season gone sour.
"It's just a number anyway. Obviously it's a big honor, but it's very disappointing," Selanne said after passing Kurri and becoming the top scorer from Finland. Only the Czech Republic's Jaromir Jagr (1,645 points) and Slovakia's Stan Mikita (1,467) have amassed more points among European-born players.
Kurri released the following statement:
"I couldn't be more proud that Teemu is the all-time top NHL scorer from Finland. Congratulations to a great player, a great friend and an even better person."
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A native of Helsinki, Kurri scored 1,398 points in his career with Edmonton, Los Angeles, the New York Rangers, Anaheim and Colorado. He won five Stanley Cups with the Oilers.
Selanne, who began his NHL career with the Winnipeg Jets in 1992-93, has registered 659 goals and 740 assists in 1,329 games. He has 22 goals and 37 assists in 70 games this season.
Selanne was mobbed by his teammates after becoming the League's all-time top scoring Finn by firing a shot from the right circle past sprawling Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov to tie Monday's game 2-2 with 3:52 left in the third period.
"I picked up the puck on the right side and I just tried to shoot as high as I can," Selanne said. "It was good to see it go in. I thought it was going to be a good momentum change for us. I thought we got at least one good chance after that. It's frustrating."
Only Columbus, Los Angeles and Minnesota have scored fewer goals among teams in the West than the Ducks, who have 173 goals this season. It didn't help Monday that right wing Corey Perry, who has a team-leading 34 goals, didn't play because of a shoulder injury, ending his consecutive games played streak at 272.
Selanne had six of the Ducks' 40 shots, including a good scoring chance midway through the second period from the side of the net when Varlamov make a big save while he was down on the ice.
"We just can't score," Selanne said. "The power play has been a problem. We got only one tonight and we scored, so that's something good. But we have so many scoring chances and we just can't execute. Goals matter."
Selanne's goal on Monday mattered, too -- just not enough to put a smile on his face in what turned out to be a bittersweet night.