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Teemu Selanne’s victory tour begins at home in Finland

When Teemu Selanne came to the NHL in 1992 as a fresh-faced speedy goal scorer out of Finland, he came in with a lot expected of him. After all, Selanne was the 10th overall selection in the 1988 NHL Draft by the Winnipeg Jets (version 1.0) and as it goes with any top first round pick, there’s a lot to hope for. Selanne didn’t disappoint in his rookie season scoring 76 goals and breaking a NHL record in the process and becoming an instant star.

Representing Finland throughout his career in international play is where he showed what a force he is. In five different Olympic Games, Selanne has played 31 games and come away with 20 goals and 17 assists. Doing it for the fans back home has always been special for Selanne which helps make the Ducks season-opening trip to Finland all the more special for the NHL legend who is likely hanging it up after this season.

Jeff Miller of The Orange County Register talks about how wild the fans in Finland will go for Selanne and his Ducks.

Perhaps the only way to truly appreciate his status in Finland would be to walk a mile – or, in this case, a kilometer – in Selanne’s shoes.

“It’s very exciting,” he said. “On the other hand, it’s going to be a zoo. Let’s be honest, it’s going to be a tough trip. There’s not going to be much privacy there.”

Selanne’s public relations representative in Helsinki recently informed him that a 150th interview request had been submitted. Selanne’s response to the PR guy: “You know, forget it.”

Randy Carlyle said he expects to encounter “in excess of 200 to 300 media.” Then, unnecessarily, the Ducks coach added, “That’s a lot.”

For a perspective on the degree of Selanne’s fame back home, Lydman stuck with a familiar sport.

“You have to put this proportion,” he said, “but like Gretzky and Lemieux in Canada, there’s Jari Kurri and Teemu Selanne in Finland.”

Teemu the rock star. Teemu the legend. Teemu the hero of a country.

Selanne may very well be vastly under appreciated here in North America even in spite of the vast amount of fans in Canada and the U.S.A. that love the NHL, here there are other stars getting the spotlight. Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Steve Stamkos, Ryan Miller… They’re big time stars over here. While Selanne has the legacy, records, and Stanley Cup victory to his record he’s not the must-see guy.

With this being, likely, his final year in the NHL perhaps the fans will treat a visit by the Ducks with Selanne in the lineup with a similar reverence due to a guy who’s earned it throughout his career.

Backes scores OT goal on his birthday, Blues even up series with Stars

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The St. Louis Blues won’t be thrilled with the way they played in the third period, but in the end, they did just enough to come away with a 4-3 overtime win over the Dallas Stars in Game 2. The Blues’ win means that the series will head to St. Louis tied 1-1.

The Stars opened the scoring in the first period, but the Blues responded by scoring three unanswered goals (Patrik Berglund, Joel Edmundson, Troy Brouwer) on five shots. Stars coach Lindy Ruff had seen enough from starter Kari Lehtonen at that point. He yanked Lehtonen in favor of Antti Niemi at the start of the second period.

Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the second period, but things got crazy in the third.

With his team still trailing 3-1, Mattias Janmark split Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko before scoring a great goal.

Moments after Janmark’s goal, Brian Elliott took a Jason Spezza blast off the mask. Elliott was shaken up on the play (he even lost one of his contact lenses), but he did stay in the game.

Stars captain Jamie Benn (surprise, surprise) leveled the score by burying a goal by Brian Elliott with under three minutes in regulation.

Like they did during their first round series against Chicago, the Blues took some time to regroup before finding a way to get the job done.

The Blues’ power play went back to work after Antoine Roussel took his third penalty of the game. That’s when the birthday boy, David Backes, came through.

That’s a nice way to celebrate your 32nd birthday.

Game 3 goes Tuesday night in St. Louis.

 

Jamie Benn’s late goal sends Game 2 to overtime

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This definitely wasn’t the way the St. Louis Blues drew it up.

The Blues entered the third period of Game 2 with a 3-1 lead. Unfortunately for them, they weren’t able to shut the game down on the road.

St. Louis jumped ahead 3-1 after 20 minutes before Dallas decided to pull Kari Lehtonen in favor of Antti Niemi. The move didn’t provide any results in the middle frame, but something certainly sparked the Stars in the third period.

Mattias Janmark cut the deficit to 3-2 with this beauty (notice how he split Colton Parayko and Alex Pietrangelo).

With less than three minutes remaining in regulation, Stars captain Jamie Benn tied it up (top).

It’s safe to say this wasn’t a memorable third period for the Blues.

Video: Brian Elliott takes a blast off the mask, stays in the game

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A bit of a scary moment in the third period of Game 2 between the Stars and Blues.

Less than five minutes into the third period, Jason Spezza took a shot that caught Blues goalie Brian Elliott square in the mask. Play was halted as Elliott remained down. It appears as though the shot to the mask also made Elliott lose one of his contacts.

Thankfully, Elliott wasn’t seriously injured on the play. After being examined by the team doctor, he was allowed to stay into the game. He did need a new mask though (he got his original one back a few minutes later).

You can watch the play by clicking the video at the top of the page.

The Blues currently lead 3-2 late in the third period.

Here’s some Twitter reaction:

 

Lehtonen only lasts one period in Game 2

Lehtonen
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Kari Lehtonen might have been more hit than miss in the playoffs going into today’s action, but Game 2 against St. Louis was certainly a start he’d like to forget.

Dallas outshot St. Louis 10-5 in the first frame, but the Blues still managed to take a 3-1 lead. Antti Niemi replaced Lehtonen for the second period which means, barring another goalie change, Lehtonen will actually end up with a sub-.500 save percentage this afternoon.

The numbers obviously look bad and it’s hard not to blame Lehtonen in the face of that, but the Blues deserve a lot of the credit for those goals. Patrik Berglund had a great shot on goal for the first marker, Joel Edmundson‘s first career playoff goal came after a nice setup by Troy Brouwer, and when Brouwer collected his own goal it was off of a rebound during a power play.

So to an extent, you could say Lehtonen looked bad due to circumstances that were very unfavorable to him. Nevertheless, the Stars needed to shake things up after what was unquestionably a bad period for them.