Selanne and Kurri developed a friendship over the years, even playing together for a brief period of time with the Ducks in the 1996-97 season. Kurri traveled to Anaheim to congratulate his countryman. Here’s what was said a few days ago in the Los Angeles Times.
“Six hundred was by far the bigger goal – 601 or 606 doesn’t really matter – but if you can pass your idol, that would be very special,” Selanne said, calling Kurri’s decision to make the long trip and his enthusiasm for the milestone “awesome.”
“I’m so happy for him,” said Kurri, a Hockey Hall of Famer who last month served as the general manager for Finland in Selanne’s fifth Olympic Games. “Why wouldn’t I be happy for him? It’s great.”
As a youngster, Selanne had a picture of Kurri and Wayne Gretzky on his bedroom wall. He wore a replica of Kurri’s No. 17 Edmonton Oilers jersey so often that, one year, he posed for a school picture in it.
With all due respect to Mikko Koivu, it will be quite some time until another Finnish hockey player will threaten the 600 goal mark. Simply put, Kuri and Selanne stand shoulder-to-shoulder as the best scorers the country has ever seen.
It’s been a year of milestones for the classy sniper as he also hit career powerplay goal number 218, which apparently places him ninth all-time on that list. Check out the top 10 all-time leaders in PPG, according to hockey-reference.com. (Asterisks are for players who are in the Hall of Fame.)
1. Dave Andreychuk 274 2. Brett Hull* 265 3. Phil Esposito* 249 4. Luc Robitaille* 247 5. Brendan Shanahan 237 6. Mario Lemieux* 236 7. Marcel Dionne* 234 8. Dino Ciccarelli 232 9. Teemu Selanne 218 10. Mike Gartner* 217
It’s pretty mind blowing that Dave Andreychuk is the all-time champion in goals with the man advantage, besting the likes of Brett Hull, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky. Other active players who are high on the list include Keith Tkachuk (12th all-time with 212) and Mark Recchi (17th all-time with 194).
Raanta rewards Rangers for starts over Lundqvist by blanking Blackhawks
If someone told you that the New York Rangers started a goalie on back-to-back nights, and that goalie wasn’t Henrik Lundqvist, you’d probably wonder if he was hurt or retired.
Nope. It just so happens that Antti Raanta is playing at an incredibly high level, Alain Vigneault noticed, and that decision paid dividends on Friday night. Raanta won both nights of a back-to-back, allowing a single goal (with the Rangers protecting him, being that he only needed to stop 43 of 44 shots during that span).
Raanta and the Rangers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks with a 1-0 overtime win, at least briefly climbing to first place in the massively competitive Metro Division:
1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP
Nick Holden ended up scoring the only goal of the game:
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost but at least salvaged a standings point and it seems like Patrick Kane is OK after this injury scare:
Raanta improved to 7-1-0 on the season, allowing two goals or less in all but one of his appearances so far this season. That’s the kind of work you’d expect to see if you’re going sit a guy who’s, you know, a living legend.
Blue Jackets remain in thick of things in Metro on tough night for Red Wings
As the Columbus Blue Jackets keep rolling, the Detroit Red Wings are probably just happy to get Friday behind them.
For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets beat their opponent 4-1.
They’re now on a five-game winning streak, and like the climbing St. Louis Blues, things look great if you go back a little further. They’re 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and 13-2-3 since November began.
The New Jersey Devils have been incredibly difficult to beat at home. Lately, the St. Louis Blues have been on a roll just about anywhere.
On Friday night, the Blues were the hotter team, handing the Devils their first home loss in regulation in 2016-17. And it wasn’t particularly close, with St. Louis winning 4-1.
It’s a convenient time to note that the Blues rank among the hottest teams in the NHL. Most recently, they’re 5-1-1 in their last seven games, but they’ve been especially impressive since they flirted with .500 at 7-6-3. Beginning with a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 15, the Blues are on a 8-2-1 tear.
This leaves them second in the Central with a 16-8-4 record.
That’s impressive stuff.
This 4-1 win was quite the showcase for Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Tarasenko, in particular. Tarasenko collected three assists while Fabbri scored two goals on Friday night. His second goal was particularly slick:
The Blues are right in saying that this was a pretty fitting opportunity to drop a “Holy Jumpin.”
Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”
Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).
Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.