DALLAS – The surging Anaheim Ducks can thank 40-year-old Teemu Selanne and 19-year-old Cam Fowler for securing a precious two points in the tight Western Conference playoff race.
Selanne scored the tying goal at 19:53 of the third period and Fowler netted the winner 1:42 into overtime to give the Ducks a stirring 4-3 comeback victory over the Dallas Stars in a key matchup on Wednesday night.
Anaheim appeared headed toward a loss before Selanne and Fowler stepped up and stretched the Ducks’ winning streak to four.
“We’ve had a lot of dramatic situations for our hockey club and tonight was another example of guys reaching back,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “Everyone’s pretty much dead at that point in the game.
“This group doesn’t think that we’re ever out of a hockey game and they’ve shown a tremendous amount of resiliency to rally around one another.”
Fowler took a pass from Bobby Ryan on a 2-on-1 break and beat goalie Kari Lehtonen to push the eighth-place Ducks one point ahead of Dallas in the West. Anaheim has won its last three in overtime.
“It shows the resiliency of our team and how there’s no quit no matter what the circumstances are,” Fowler said. “You can always rely on some of the veterans to step up when the game is on the line. Teemu did that for us. Bobby gave me a great pass in overtime. I didn’t really have much work left to do. You put the game on those guys’ sticks and 99 per cent of the time, they’re going to come up with a result for you.”
Selanne made Fowler’s winner possible when he popped a loose puck into an open net in the final seconds of the third period for his 629th NHL goal.
Anaheim got a break on Selanne’s goal when the puck hit a referee in the corner and landed on the stick of Saku Koivu, whose shot resulted in a rebound for Selanne.
“The puck comes around and hits the referee and goes right to their guy,” Stars coach Marc Crawford said. “What can you do? You don’t plan for the referee to be in the way. He doesn’t plan to be there. So unfortunately we get a horrendous break with five seconds to go that had nothing to do with the play.”
Ryan and Ryan Getzlaf had two assists for Anaheim, 4-1 against Dallas this season.
Trevor Daley had put the Stars in front 3-2 with 6:39 left in regulation, firing a rebound through the pads of goalie Ray Emery for his eighth goal.
Loui Eriksson sent the Stars ahead 2-1 at 4:29 of the third when he scored from in front off a centring setup from Jamie Langenbrunner.
Ryan tied it at 2-2 just 11 seconds later with his 40th goal of the season. He got behind defenceman Stephane Robidas for a breakaway and backhanded a shot past Lehtonen.
Alex Goligoski scored a power-play goal, and Brad Richards and Mike Ribeiro had two assists each for the Stars, who went 2-2-3 on a season-high, seven-game homestand.
“As hard as it is, you’ve got to look at the positive side of it,” Crawford said. “We played a strong game, battled, and by all rights should have won the game. We got a point out of it. So all is not lost. We will survive to fight a better day and move forward.”
Lubomir Visnovsky scored a power-play goal for the Ducks, 9-2 in their last 11 games.
Dallas, which will open a five-game trip Saturday at Nashville, has seven of its final nine games on the road. Anaheim, which opened a three-game trip, has five of its last nine away from home.
Visnovsky’s slap shot from the left circle 56 seconds into the second period sailed over Lehtonen’s shoulder for the game’s first goal. Visnovsky has four goals in five games against Dallas this season. The teams will meet once more, on April 3.
Goligoski’s shot from 40 feet beat Emery into the upper right corner of the net to tie it at 1-1 at 9:57 of the second.
Notes: Eriksson (upper body) was back after missing two games, but RW Adam Burish (lower body) sat out his fifth straight game. D Nicklas Grossman (knee) is out indefinitely with a sprained knee, and D Karlis Skrastins (leg) and LW Brian Sutherby (back) were also out for the Stars. … Dallas forward Jamie Benn’s point streak ended at 10 games. … The Ducks activated G Jonas Hiller from the injured list after he missed 15 games with vertigo symptoms. Hiller served as Emery’s backup but is expected to start Thursday at Nashville. … Lehtonen played in his 14th straight game and 60th of the season, two more than the previous two injury-plagued seasons. Backup Andrew Raycroft could get at least one more start, with Dallas facing two back-to-backs in the final nine games.