Selanne returns to Ducks, joins starting lineup

Updated: February 6, 2008, 3:45 PM ET
Associated Press

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Teemu Selanne made his season debut Tuesday night, joining the Anaheim Ducks' starting lineup just when the defending Stanley Cup champions need him most.

Selanne, who contemplated retirement and sat out Anaheim's first 56 games, got back on the ice in a 3-0 victory over the New York Islanders in Nassau Coliseum, the place he played his first game for Anaheim 12 years earlier during his first stint with the Ducks.

He scored his first Ducks goal in his first game on Feb. 10, 1996, when Anaheim lost 4-3 to the Islanders. Now the 37-year-old forward will try to inject some life into the dormant Ducks' offense.

The club he helped lead to its first Stanley Cup title last spring came into Tuesday night's game on a six-game losing streak (0-5-1), including consecutive shutout losses Friday and Saturday at St. Louis and Philadelphia.

Selanne paid quick dividends, earning the second assist on Scott Niedermayer's power-play goal 2:36 into the second period that gave Anaheim a 1-0 lead and snapped the Ducks' scoreless streak at 177 minutes, 56 seconds.

Selanne signed a one-year prorated deal last week and practiced with the team before it left for its nine-game road trip that got off to an 0-3-1 start before stopping on Long Island.

The Finnish forward had 48 goals and 46 assists last season, when he ranked third in the NHL in goals, led the league in power-play tallies with 25 and tied for first in winning goals with 10.

Anaheim came in ranked last in the NHL with 2.36 goals per game, slightly behind the Islanders, who were second-to-last with an average of 2.38.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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