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The Anaheim Ducks received a much-needed boost when right wing Teemu Selanne decided to return earlier this month.
Selanne looks to keep the defending Stanley Cup champion Ducks on a winning path as they host the Calgary Flames on Friday.
Anaheim (36-23-7) played the first four months of the season without Selanne, who contemplated retirement. The club was rolling through opponents until late January, when the club dropped a season-high six straight games from Jan. 20-Feb. 2 - its longest skid since going 0-5-3 from Nov. 3-20, 2005.
Those struggles, though, are far behind as the Ducks have gone 9-1-0 since Selanne rejoined the team. His best performance in that span came Sunday, when he registered his 20th career hat trick and two assists in a 6-3 home victory over Chicago.
Selanne also moved past Maurice Richard into 25th place on the all-time scoring list with 546 career goals.
"The impact Teemu has made on our team is what we needed," left wing Todd Bertuzzi said. "We needed goals. He showed up and is supplying them."
Selanne, who led Anaheim with 48 goals and 94 points last season, has totaled six goals and five assists since his return.
"I've been feeling great. My legs are back, my body's back, and it's fun to skate," said Selanne, who is also the Ducks franchise leader in both goals (319) and points (677). "The team's also playing well, and that's the most important thing."
Anaheim's recent success has it second in the Pacific Division with 79 points - eight behind Dallas - and fourth in the Western Conference.
Against Chicago, forwards Ryan Getzlaf and Chris Kunitz each had multipoint performances, while rookie goaltender Jonas Hiller made 29 saves for the Ducks, who are 4-1-0 on their season-high, seven-game homestand.
Hiller has never faced Calgary (33-22-9), as Jean-Sebastien Giguere has been in net for each of the teams' three meetings. The Ducks are 2-1-0 in those games, and look to win the season series versus the Flames for the first time since going 3-2-0 in 1995-96.
Giguere is 7-1-0 with a 1.49 goals-against average in his last eight starts. His numbers at home are equally impressive, going 8-2-0 with a 1.79 GAA in his last 10 starts at the Honda Center, where the Ducks have won 11 of their last 13.
One of those home wins was a 4-2 victory over Calgary on Feb. 17.
The Flames, who are tied with Minnesota for the Northwest lead, begin a two-game road swing after they had their four-game winning streak snapped with a 3-2 overtime loss to visiting Colorado on Tuesday. The winning goal came after Flames captain Jarome Iginla was penalized in overtime for tripping as he skated through center ice.
"I definitely didn't agree with the call there," said Iginla, who leads the team with 38 goals and 75 points. "But I know I shouldn't have made it that close in OT to let the ref have any kind of say, so I feel bad about that."
Iginla has been kept off the scoresheet twice in his last three games, but has had success versus Anaheim. He has two goals and two assists in three games this season, and 21 goals and 36 points in 43 all-time contests against the Ducks.
Selanne, meanwhile, has 35 goals and 69 points in 57 lifetime games against the Flames, who have won three straight on the road.
|Feb 29 '08||CGY 1 at ANA 3||S. Niedermayer|
|Feb 17 '08||CGY 2 at ANA 4||S. Niedermayer|
|Dec 29 '07||ANA 3 at CGY 5||J. Iginla|
|Nov 29 '07||ANA 4 at CGY 1||C. Kunitz|