ANAHEIM – When Teemu Selanne eventually retires, the Calgary Flames might be among first in line to welcome him off the ice.
Selanne was overdue for his first goal this season and it came in unorthodox fashion, but held up as the game-winner to help the Anaheim Ducks win their fifth straight in a 3-2 victory Wednesday night at Honda Center.
After he retrieved a new stick from the bench, Selanne took a one-hand nudge pass from Jakob Silfverberg and beat Flames goalie Joey MacDonald (19 saves) five-hole for career goal No.676 in the second period.
Anaheim (5-1-0) has won five of its first six games for the first time in franchise history.
"Sometimes you got to be lucky," Selanne said. "But to be honest, that was not a very good hockey game from us. It was good that we won. A lot of times, like last year, we won the games when we didn't play really well. But, we just found a way to win again. That's a good thing. But it was not pretty out there, especially the third period. Viktor [Fasth] stole the points for us."
Fasth was needed to hold back a huge push in third by Calgary (3-1-2), which outshot the Ducks 17-4 and pulled to 3-2 on Jiri Hudler's goal but dropped its 17th straight game in Anaheim dating to the Flames' last win here on Jan.19, 2004. It was also their first regulation loss of the season.
Calgary coach Bob Hartley lamented some individual mistakes and could only throw up his hands on the Selanne goal, which came after Silfverberg got to a loose puck.
"Here's a guy that made a living in the NHL scoring some big goals and he still does," Hartley said. "It's one of those turnovers that we have to get away from our system."
It wasn't all smooth for the Ducks, who saw their 30th-ranked power play drop to 1-for-23 on the season and played almost the entire third on their heels. Selanne, who has 82 points in 73 career games against Calgary, made it disappear, but admitted it's a sore point.
"We look like power killers right now," Selanne said. "I wouldn't call that a power play. It's embarrassing. It's a joke right now. I can only laugh at that right now, seriously, and I'm a big part of it. That's the one thing we've got to fix … [there's] no confidence, no shots. We just tried to make some fancy plays. It's not pretty to watch. Not for the kids."
On a night when the puck was bouncing like a rubber ball, Calgary not only nullified Tim Jackman's five-minute butt-ending penalty on Sami Vatanen, but scored shorthanded on it to close to 2-1. The puck rolled off Kyle Palmieri's stick at the left point and Lee Stempniak grabbed it and scored a breakaway goal that Fasth (33 saves) kicked across the goal line.
Fasth made his first start since Oct.6. He said the time off was an adjustment.
"I was little shaky in the first 20 [minutes], I think," Fasth said. "It was hard to read bounces. But I felt better the longer the game went and the guys really helped out out there today. It was really good to get that win."
A great play by Palmieri gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead in the first. Palmieri batted down Chris Butler's pass, kept it in at blue line and ripped a snap shot through a thicket of Flames at 15:04.
It followed the good-start script for Anaheim, which has outscored opponents 10-6 in the opening period this season.
Dustin Penner, in his first game back from a lower-body injury, helped the Ducks score first for the fourth time in six games with a clever flip pass to spring Ryan Getzlaf on the right side before Getzlaf returned the favor with a cross-ice feed that Penner one-timed at 4:27.
Penner, who scored two goals in 33 regular-season games with the Los Angeles Kings last season, has two in four games with Anaheim.
Both goalies made clutch saves, notably Fasth on Stempniak in the third and Joe Colborne at the start. MacDonald made an impressive right leg stop to deny Emerson Etem in the second.
It was a night of too many early mistakes for Calgary. Rookie sensation Sean Monahan saw much of the Andrew Cogliano-Saku Koivu-Daniel Winnik line and did not record a shot on goal. Ben Street and Curtis Glencross were each a minus-3.
"We gave up two goals that we didn't have to," Flames forward Mikael Backlund said. "We have to remember our mistakes and look at the video to see else. I thought we worked hard, but came out a little sleepy, some of us. We have to get better and be ready to go right away because San Jose is coming hard just like Anaheim here."
Anaheim's 17-game winning streak is the longest home win streak against one opponent in franchise history. Selanne's goal was his 108th career game winner, one shy of Brendan Shanahan for fifth all-time.
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