Teemu Selanne

Selanne wishes hockey wasn’t so structured these days

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When Teemu Selanne entered the NHL, way back in 1992 as a rookie with the Winnipeg Jets, not only did he score a whopping 76 times, he played in a league where 15 of the 24 teams cracked the 300-goal mark during the 84-game regular season.

In fairly stark contrast, Selanne’s current team, the Anaheim Ducks, led the NHL in 2013-14, scoring a relatively paltry 263 times in 82 games.

Not surprisingly, the 43-year-old kinda misses the old days.

From TSN’s Mark Masters:

Of course, the notion that the NHL is over-coached nowadays is nothing new. Where people disagree is if it’s a problem. Some are just fine with a series like the Ducks-Kings one, which Selanne says is now “all about grinding”; others think the NHL should do more to encourage scoring and scoring chances.

One thing’s for sure — NHL coaches aren’t going anywhere, so it’s up to the league to decide if the relative dearth of goals (compared to back in the day) is a problem that’s worth addressing.

Get your game notes: Kings at Ducks

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Anaheim Ducks hosting the Los Angeles Kings starting at 10 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• For the 22nd time in Stanley Cup playoff history – and the 16th time since 1994 – the road team won the first four games of a best-of-seven series. In the previous 21 series, the winner of Game 5 went on to win 18 times (.857 win%). The only three teams that lost Game 5, but later won the series, were the 1980 North Stars (vs. Montreal), 1995 Sharks (vs. Calgary) and 2001 Penguins (vs. Buffalo). (Elias Sports Bureau)

• Ducks goaltender John Gibson stopped all 28 shots for a shutout in his NHL postseason debut. The 20-year-old Pittsburgh native, who won gold medals at the international level for Team USA at the U-17 (2010), U-18 (2011) and U-20 (2013) levels, made NHL history in several ways. Elias Sports Bureau
Gibson became…

— the youngest goalie in NHL history to record a shutout in his Stanley Cup playoffs debut (20 years, 330 days),

— the sixth goalie since 1954 to post a shutout in his Stanley Cup playoffs debut (the most recent of the five previous was his current back-up, Jonas Hiller, in 2009)

— the fourth-youngest goalie in NHL history to record a postseason shutout (after Detroit’s Harry Lumley in 1945, Montreal’s Patrick Roy in 1986 and Carey Price in 2008),

— the second goalie in NHL history to record a shutout in both his first regular-season (Apr. 7 vs. Vancouver) and postseason games (Boston’s Tiny Thompson did so in 1928-29)

• The Ducks helped Gibson’s cause by blocking 25 shots in Game 4, led by defensemen Ben Lovejoy (six) and Bryan Allen (five). It was the fifth time this playoff round that any team has blocked 25 or more shots. Four of those times (Montreal – 30 in Game 1, 29 in Game 3; Chicago – 25 in Game 2; and Anaheim – 25 in Game 4), the team won. The only team to lose was the Ducks, which posted 29 blocks in its Game 1 overtime loss to the Kings. They have 72 total in this series (avg. 18.0/game).

• After registering at least one point in his team’s first 10 games, Kings center Anze Kopitar was held without a point in Game 4. The playoff scoring leader (4-11–15) also committed a double-minor for high sticking in the third period, thwarting a possible comeback for his team. Only once in 55 career playoff games has Kopitar spent more time in the penalty box than he did in Game 4 (four minutes): he was assessed a five-minute major for fighting Vancouver’s Alexandre Burrows in 2012.

• As Ryan Getzlaf goes, so go the Ducks in the playoffs. The Anaheim center and team captain, who ranks second in franchise history with 25 goals (behind teammate Teemu Selanne – 35), has single goals in 25 of 78 postseason games. Including his goal that gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead in Game 4, Anaheim is 23-2 when he scores a goal.

• Kings goaltender Martin Jones relieved starter Jonathan Quick (two goals allowed on 11 shots) after the first intermission, and did not face a shot until the 5:29 point of the third period (Getzlaf). The Kings became only the third team in the Expansion Era (1968-present) to allow no shots on goal in an entire period of a playoff game. They were the second team of the trio to lose. (Elias Sports Bureau)

Jagr keeps playing because he ‘wants to have fun’

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The career of Jaromir Jagr is a fascinating thing to look at and at 42 years old, he’s showing no signs of letting up.

Jagr is playing for the Czech Republic at the 2014 World Championships and recently re-signed with the New Jersey Devils for another season. After starting with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1990, his philosophy for keeping at it is pretty simple as Stephen Whyno of The Canadian Press shared.

I want to have fun. As long as you have fun, everything is a lot easier,” Jagr said. “But you have to work hard, you have to love the game, and that’s what you do.”

Jagr said one of the things that keeps him ahead of the game at an older age is being smarter when playing and look for any advantage he can get. With so many younger, faster players out there, being the “wise veteran” has its place as well.

This past season with the Devils, he led the team in scoring with 67 points. He potted 24 goals and was one behind 23-year-old Adam Henrique for the team lead.

While guys like Teemu Selanne are hanging it up and Martin Brodeur is coming to the end of his road, Jagr just keeps on rolling along. Wonder if he’s talked to Chris Chelios about playing until you’re almost 50.

PHT Morning Skate: Rangers fight to keep campaign alive

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For the Boston Bruins and Anaheim Ducks, a loss last night would have put them on the brink of elimination. Both teams managed to prevent that with one-goal victories over the Montreal Canadiens and Los Angeles Kings respectively.

Teemu Selanne, 43, came up big for the Ducks with a power-play goal late in the second period while Matt Fraser, two decades Selanne’s junior, was the hero in Boston. Fraser netted the overtime winner in an otherwise scoreless contest.

Boston is now tied with the Canadiens at 2-2 while Anaheim remains a game behind the Kings. Neither of those series will end until Monday at the earliest, but the first member of the Conference Finals might be established tonight.

Game 5: New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins [Pittsburgh leads series 3-1] (7:00 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

The Rangers took Game 1 of this series and since then, almost nothing has worked out for them. They were shutout in two straight contests and weren’t able to manage a sustained effort in their 4-2 loss to the Penguins on Wednesday.

New York isn’t lacking in top-end talent, but for the most part the team’s best guys haven’t been able to step up. Defenseman Ryan McDonagh, in coach Alain Vigenault’s words, “obviously … hasn’t played very well.”

He has just one point in the 2014 playoffs while Rick Nash is still searching for his first goal. Rangers fans let their frustration out on the 29-year-old forward by booing him during Game 4.

“We may not look it, but we’re trying our guts off here,” Vigneault insisted.

Perhaps fatigue has gotten the better to them. They only recently completed a stretch of five games in seven days. It’s moot now though. One more loss and they’ll get all the rest they need – and they certainly won’t want the breather then.

Game 4: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild [Chicago leads series 2-1] (9:30 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

The Blackhawks cruised to victory in the first two games of this series to extend their winning streak to six games. Despite Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville warning that the Wild couldn’t be taken lightly, it looked like Chicago would cruise to the Western Conference Final.

Then Minnesota scored four unanswered goals in the third period of Tuesday’s contest to make this a series again. Chicago forward Patrick Kane suggested that his team might have gotten overconfident and that loss served as a “wake up call.” The Wild will try to prove it was more than that tonight.

As has been the case for Minnesota all season though, it won’t be that simple. The Wild are expected to once again adjust to a major injury as forward Matt Moulson is doubtful with a lower-body injury. Matt Cooke is eligible to return after serving his seven-game suspension and will almost certainly be in the lineup if Moulson can’t play.

Minnesota was 26-10-5 at home in the regular season and hasn’t lost a game at the Xcel Energy Center in the 2014 postseason. If the Wild can maintain their dominance at home, then they still have a shot in this series.

Determined Ducks snap L.A.’s streak, cut series lead to 2-1

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It wasn’t comfortable, but it was a win.

The Ducks did the business Thursday night at the Staples Center, surviving the loss of their starting goalie and a late charge from the Kings to win 3-2 and snap L.A’s six-game playoff win streak in the process.

The game was a virtual must-have for Anaheim, and the players responded as such. Leading goalscorer Corey Perry scored his first of the series just 4:05 into the game, converting a Patrick Maroon pass on the power play to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead.

The Kings tied it up early in the second when Jeff Carter scored his third of the playoffs, also on the power play, but the Ducks retook the lead at the 15:10 mark when the ageless wonder, Teemu Selanne, scored his 44th career playoff goal on — what else? — the power play.

Then came the third period, when the Ducks almost went south.

Starting netminder Frederik Andersen was forced from the game with just under 10 minutes remaining after suffering what appeared to be a lower-body injury. Andersen didn’t put any weight on his right leg upon exiting the ice, and Jonas Hiller — who started Games 1 and 2 of this series — was summoned from the bench.

Hiller got some breathing room at the 17:05 mark, when Ben Lovejoy sniped a high shot past Jonathan Quick to give the Ducks a seemingly comfortable 3-1 advantage. But with 31 seconds to go, Mike Richards batted home a Tanner Pearson rebound for his first goal of the postseason, making for a nervous final 30 seconds.

Thankfully for Anaheim, that would be it for dramatics as it held on and cut the Kings’ series lead to 2-1.

Notes…

Maroon’s assist on the Perry goal was his sixth point in the last six games, making him first rookie to record a postseason point streak of at least six games since Warren Rychel did it for the Kings in 1993…With an assist tonight, Anze Kopitar became the first L.A. player to register a point in 10 straight playoff games since Wayne Gretzky…After starting the series 0-for-4 on the power play, the Ducks are now three for their last six with the man advantage.