He might be the oldest player in the NHL, but he is still better than guys half his age. Teemu Selanne, 42 1/2, had two goals and two assists to help the Ducks defeat the Canucks 7-3 in their opening game of the season. He earned the number one star of the game and star of the whole NHL opening night for his efforts.
What is even scarier? Hearing Selanne, who is the oldest player to have a four point night since Gordie Howe did it (126 days olders) in 1971, telling reporters he still needs "four or five games to get going." If this is his warm up, he is going to have a spectacular season.
The Ducks rolled four lines in their victory, something they have not had the luxury to do in a long, long, time. The newly configured third line of Saku Koivu, Andrew Cogliano and newcomer Daniel Winnik was effective in shutting down the Sedin twins and put in two of the Ducks goals. Winnik had two goals, including the first one of the season. Not known as a prolific scorer, he has never had more than 11 goals in a season.
Vancouver, who should have had the home advantage, only held the lead once. After Dan Hamhuis tied the game up early in the first period, Daniel Sedin got a power play goal to make it 2-1 less than a minute later. But after that, it was all Anaheim.
The Ducks got their first of three power play goals at 15:23 of the first period when Sheldon Souray reminded everyone what a wickedly hard shot he has from the blue line. After Winnik's pretty tic tac toe goal at 3:33 of the second period put the Ducks ahead, they never looked back.
Corey Perry got a power play goal at 6:23 and :11 seconds later it was Kyle Palmieri who made it 5-2. At that point, Vancouver was not thrilled and Cory Schneider got the boot from net. Schneider, who displaced Roberto Luongo during last year's playoffs and earned the number one spot for the Canucks, was ironically replaced by Luongo. If you read Puck Daddy's drinking game for the NHL's opening night, that was a three drink event and certainly unexpected.
Luongo only let in two more, one of them being Selanne's power play goal at 19:46 of the middle frame. That goal gave Selanne 249 power play goals, which ties him with Phil Esposito for third all time. Luongo came up strong in the third period, looking a lot more like the Luongo of old and kept the Canucks from being embarrassed even more than they already were.
Alexander Edler got a power play goal at 9:27 of the third period, getting the puck off the crossbar and in behind Jonas Hiller, who had 26 saves in the win. That gave brief hope for a miraculous comeback. It didn't last long. Selanne's second goal of the came came :22 seconds later and that was it for the home crowd, who decided they might as well get out of the parking lot early rather than watch the rest of the game.
Selanne's goal, was point #1,410, which puts him in 18th place of scoring overall, just passing Dale Hawerchuk.
Luongo joked after the game.
"I felt I should have had both of those goals. But in general I felt pretty good, made some good saves, was seeing the puck well. If only Teemu could retire now, I'd be all set."
I have a feeling there will be quite a few goaltenders this season who will be uttering the same words.
Jaromir Jagr, the league's other old guy still playing at age 40, also had two goals and two assists in his first game with his new team, the Dallas Stars.
"Did he get four tonight?" said coach Bruce Boudreau after the game. "So (Selanne) and Jagr are leading the league in scoring? What the hell is this world coming to? I think it's great."
After over nine months of no Ducks hockey, a 7-3 win is also great and certainly the right way to come out of the starting gate. Now if they can keep it up the rest of the way.
In other notes: Cam Fowler was out ill with the flu so Jordan Hendry made his Ducks debut. Rickard Rakell, who had an impressive training camp, made his NHL debut. The Ducks will only have five games (not 10, as earlier reported, due to the shortened season), to be evaluated and either kept in the line up or sent back to his junior team.