WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets and the Anaheim Ducks played a hockey game Sunday night, but that was only the subplot -- Teemu Selanne was back in town.
A beloved member of the first incarnation of the Jets, Selanne made what likely will be his last appearance in the Manitoba capital, and he and his Ducks teammates emerged with a 3-2 victory.
The love-in with the popular Finn started when the Ducks arrived at their hotel Saturday night, when Selanne was met by a small throng of fans looking for autographs and pictures. It continued Sunday before and after the Ducks' pregame skate as Selanne again had his Sharpie in constant motion. And once the teams arrived at the rink, well, it was Teemu-mania.
He was cheered during the warm-up, during the national anthem when he was shown on the scoreboard screen, every time he touched the puck and when he came out for a farewell lap as the game's first star.
The first in-game standing ovation came just past the halfway mark of the first period when the Jets' public address announcer passed on True North Sports & Entertainment's congratulations to Selanne for the many accomplishments during his career.
Selanne acknowledged the gesture and the fans by standing and waving in all directions.
The Jets' top line of Bryan Little, Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler, all of whom were on the ice during a TV timeout, tapped their sticks on the ice.
It was a game the Jets never deserved to be in based on shot totals. Winnipeg never mustered more than six shots in a period. In the end, the Ducks outshot the Jets 34-17.
The game appeared headed for overtime -- and a possible shootout in which Selanne certainly would have participated -- when Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian fanned on an outlet pass with less than six minutes to go, then blew a tire as the puck landed softly on Corey Perry's stick in the slot. The 2010-11 NHL most valuable player quickly roofed it over Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec.
Bogosian, perhaps trying to make up for his gaffe, then took a boarding penalty with 3:27 left in the game.
Ladd opened the scoring just over nine minutes into the first period with a power-play goal, his first marker of the season, assisted by Wheeler and Toby Enstrom.
The Ducks took just over a minute to respond when Mathieu Perrault collected a loose puck in front of the Jets net and roofed it past a prone Pavelec, with assists to Ben Lovejoy and Jakob Silfverberg.
Ladd restored the one-goal lead at 16:17 of the first period with his first goal of the season, assisted by Wheeler and Little.
The Ducks tied the game with four seconds left in the second period when Andrew Cogliano deflected a point shot behind Pavelec, who made 31 saves in a losing effort.
Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth stopped 15 shots.
NOTES: The Jets entered Sunday's game with two straight wins to start the season for the first time since relocating from Atlanta for the 2011-12 season. ... Scratches for the Ducks were D Sheldon Souray (wrist), RW Emerson Etem (lower body) and D Luca Sbisa (lower body). ... The Jets activated D Grant Clitsome before the game. ... Selanne collected two assists the last time he played in Winnipeg on Dec. 18, 2011. As they did in that game, Jets fans cheered every time Selanne touched the puck and booed whenever one of his linemates had it. ... Jets C Olli Jokinen, who scored his 300th NHL goal last week, is the fourth-highest scoring Finnish player of all time, trailing Selanne, Jari Kurri and Saku Koivu. ... During a media scrum following the Ducks' pregame skate, Selanne said his favorite moment during his tenure with the Jets was March 2, 1993, the night he scored his 54th goal of the season, breaking Mike Bossy's NHL rookie record. He celebrated by throwing one of his gloves in the air and using his stick to shoot it down. "Now that I look back at it, I'm a little embarrassed," Selanne said with a smile. He finished with 76 goals, a record that still stands.
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