Vancouver 5, Ducks 4.

Ultimately, this game will probably be remembered for Teemu Selanne’s continued march up the NHL record books. He scored a pair of goals, the 602nd and 603rd of his career, moving him past Jari Kurri into sole possession of 17th place on the all-time list.


But in consecutive games against two of the Western Conference’s top eight
teams, the Ducks have shown the kind of relentlessness that makes you
wonder how they played themselves out of the top eight in the first
place.

That they have made their small, late push with two of
their star players (Ryan Getzlaf and Jonas Hiller) nursing injuries is even more remarkable. For this
season, Friday’s shootout loss to the Canucks merely represented another
point lost in the
standings
.

“We have to be realistic at this point,” Saku
Koivu said after a two-goal effort, including the 6-on-4 equalizer with
1:24 left. “We can’t lose any
points.”

But there were still some bright spots, some of which could bode
well for next season.

The 35-year-old Koivu has
seven points in his last
two games, 14 points in his last
10, and is making a strong case for the Ducks to renew his
expiring $3.5 million contract this summer.

Curtis McElhinney turned aside 36 of 40 shots, snapping a personal-best four-game winning streak. In his last five games, the career backup is 4-0-1 with a .933 save percentage and 2.14 goals-against average while spelling an injured Jonas Hiller. Those numbers make a strong case for his continued presence in Anaheim; the current contract which he signed in Calgary does not expire until 2011.

Selanne, meanwhile, has not indicated whether he will retire or not at the end of this season, but his assault on the record books has been the most compelling story in Anaheim since the Olympics ended. He has a five-game point
streak (three goals, six assists) and points in seven of his last eight games.

With his
two
goals tonight, he also moved into sole possession of ninth in all-time
power
play goals (218).

But after the game, Selanne sure sounded like a man who would like one more trip to the playoffs, if only to end his career on a high note.

“I’d rather not pass (Kurri) and get these points (in the standings) to
give
us a chance,” he said. “What happened earlier in the season put us behind the eight
ball.
That is why we are where we are. We’ll just keep battling as long as we
have a chance and see what happens.”

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