Ducks 4, Avalanche 3.

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.

That was the difference in yet another 4-3 game for the Ducks, who should be happy to come out on the winning end of a wild game which saw 67 total shots for the Avs and 66 for Anaheim.

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.

Game summary here; event summary here; unfortnuately, I have no quotesforthcomingtoday after a busy weekend – so go enjoy your Saturday. It’s a beautiful day.

This entry was posted in Anaheim Ducks/NHL by J.P. Hoornstra. Bookmark the permalink.

About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.

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