When Jari Kurri scored #600 in 1998, there were not many members of the 600 club. 12 years later, and Teemu Selanne is still only the 18th member of the club. Kurri, Selanne’s boyhood idol and teammate for one season on the Ducks, was flown in from Finland to help honor Selanne’s milestone before the game on Monday night. Selanne’s family was also there, along with his mom, Liisa.
While the initial focus was on celebrating Selanne, the Ducks were even happier to celebrate a victory over the Dallas Stars.
Before the game Kurri said he would be ok seeing his friend tie and/or pass him at 601 goals.
“I gave up a long time ago so I’m ready to see it now!”
Kurri would have to wait. Selanne could not even put the puck in the empty net at the end of the game and finished with 8 unfulfilled shots on goal.
The Ducks had an extra jump in their step from the moment the puck dropped, but could not get anything past Kari Lehtonen until the second period. Then the floodgates opened.
Nick Bonino, playing in only his second game, got his first ever NHL goal at 8:11. The power play goal was assisted by Selanne. Not a bad way to start your career. Selanne, who scored 76 in his rookie year, happily dragged the puck out of the net for the souvenir and told Bonino he still remembers his first one.
Bonino did not look out of place in his first game, and he was equally comfortable in his second. He agreed that his first would also be remembered for the rest of his life.
“It’s incredible when I get on the ice with Selanne, Perry, Niedermayer,” reflected Bonino. “You really can’t do any wrong. I got an opportunity and I’m just trying to make the best of it.”
Corey Perry scored at 12:41 and Kyle Chipchura made it 3-0 less than a minute later at 13:30. Time out by Dallas, who at that point was being outshot 25 – 13. It was not Lehtonen’s fault for lettin’ in all those goals. He got virtually zero support from his teammates in front of him. Despite the score, Lehtonen still ended up making 43 saves in the game.
The Stars got one goal behind Curtis McElhinney, who started in net for the second game in a row as Jonas Hiller had back spasms during the warm up. Loui Erikkson had a beautiful shot that circled around McElhinney at 14:49.
That was it for the Stars, even though they poured it on in the third period. McElhinney stood firm, stopping 30 shots, 14 of them in the third period alone.
“That’s the way he played in the last game for us,” said coach Randy Carlyle. “He just continues to prove that he’s a quality goaltender. He had to make some big stops, but they didn’t get too many second and third opportunities. A lot of the pucks that were directed his way were swallowed up, and that’s a great sign for a goalie.”
The Ducks now head back out again to Colorado for a single road game on Wednesday.
In other notes: Aaron Ward was out with a bruised foot suffered when blocking a shot against Edmonton on Friday night. Ryan Getzlaf continues to be day to day with an re-injured ankle. For Dallas, Mike Ribeiro sat in the pressbox as punishment for missing a team meeting on Sunday. He did not look happy.