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Selanne shifting to left side to play on Ducks' top line

by Rick Sadowski

DENVER -- Teemu Selanne will be playing a new position on a new line when the Anaheim Ducks play the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Friday and try to end a four-game losing streak.

It's been a struggle at times for Selanne, 43, who is in his 21st and what he has said will be his final NHL season. A right wing throughout his career, Selanne will be at left wing on the Ducks' first line with center Ryan Getzlaf and right wing Corey Perry.

"It's OK," Selanne said of the position change. "When you've played your whole career on the right side, I'll just have to stay focused when we're coming out of our end and come back on the left side. It shouldn't be a problem."

Selanne has seven goals and 13 assists in 52 games, no goals and three assists in his past 14 games. Selanne doesn't have a point in five games since returning from the 2014 Sochi Olympics, where he helped Finland win a bronze medal and was named most valuable player of the tournament.

"Every time you have a chance to play with those two guys it's fun," Selanne said of Perry and Getzlaf. "I haven't had a chance to do that for a year pretty much, but those guys are unbelievable players, so hopefully we can do well. I really believe the game is easier when you're playing on the first line. You have to work and do the right things, but I'm excited with this challenge for sure."

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said he hopes the change will give Selanne and the team a boost. The Ducks are 0-2-2 in their past four games and lost 7-2 to the Calgary Flames on Wednesday.

Anaheim enters play Friday in first place in the Pacific Division with 93 points, having played one fewer game than the second-place San Jose Sharks, who also have 93 points.

"I always believe that all the great teams have to go through some tough times, and this is one of those for us," Selanne said. "It keeps you honest and reminds you that you have to work hard and do the right things. We need everybody to turn this around together and that's going to make this team stronger. Last game nothing worked. We are not very happy with how we have played lately."

The Avalanche expect the Ducks to come out hard.

"They're going to want to want this one real bad, especially because they've had a tough go lately, which all teams go through," center Matt Duchene said. "They're going to be hungry. If we win we'd be tied for second in the NHL and that'd be pretty special. We want to be ahead of these guys."

Colorado is second in the Central Division with 91 points, one more than the Chicago Blackhawks after a 3-2 win against them Wednesday. The Avalanche are 2-1-0 in the first three games of their four-game homestand.

"I think it's good to be playing the top teams this time of year," Duchene said. "It keeps you ramped up, keeps you ready for what's going to come."

Here are the projected lineups for the Avalanche and Blackhawks:


Teemu Selanne - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Patrick Maroon - Nick Bonino - Kyle Palmieri

Daniel Winnik - Saku Koivu - Andrew Cogliano

Matt Beleskey - Mathieu Perreault - Jakob Silfverberg

Cam Fowler - Ben Lovejoy

Luca Sbisa - Francois Beauchemin

Bryan Allen - Hampus Lindholm

Jonas Hiller

Frederik Andersen

Scratched: Mark Fistric, Tim Jackman

Injured: Stephane Robidas (leg), Sheldon Souray (wrist)


Ryan O'Reilly - Matt Duchene - Jamie McGinn

Gabriel Landeskog - John Mitchell - Nathan MacKinnon

Cody McLeod - Marc-Andre Cliche - Maxime Talbot

Brad Malone - Paul Carey - Patrick Bordeleau

Jan Hejda - Erik Johnson

Andre Benoit - Nick Holden

Nate Guenin - Tyson Barrie

Semyon Varlamov

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Scratched: Cory Sarich, Ryan Wilson

Injured: PA Parenteau (knee), Paul Stastny (back), Alex Tanguay (hip surgery)

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