After gaining the official “Mr. Duck” title early, Teemu Selanne scored the game-winner late on – get this – an even-strength goal. Selanne hadn’t scored an even-strength goal since Oct. 14 against the Kings, before cramming the puck past Avs goalie Peter Budaj in a scramble at 5:07 of the third period Saturday.
Colorado is a respectable 14-13-0 at the Pepsi Center but, alas, not a very good team overall (23-26-1, the third-worst record in the West). In this critical stretch with 4 of 5 games away from home, this was the most winnable on paper for the Ducks. And on paper, it was a close game — but possibly much closer in reality.
Jonas Hiller (34 saves) had to withstand some heavy pressure in the final minute with Budaj (27 saves) off the ice. George Parros (on a putback in traffic), Ryan Getzlaf (on a much prettier sequence), and Scott Niedermayer (off a great pass from Bobby Ryan) also scored for the Ducks, who temporarily broke out of that four-way logjam at the bottom of the playoff race.
Getzlaf and Niedermayer (who has played quite well lately) both finished with a goal and two assists. Andrew Ebbett got back in the lineup and picked up the primary assist on Teemu’s game-winner simply by fighting for the puck in a crowd. Drew Miller and Nathan McIver were the healthy scratches for the Ducks.
Give Hiller credit, too. He was far from perfect as Colorado turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead midway through the second period, but was perfect when it counted the most in the final minute. Not only is Jean-Sebastien Giguere playing himself out of the No. 1 role, but Hiller is playing himself into it.