CALGARY – Teemu Selanne and Cam Fowler were born 21 years apart and both the veteran and the rookie were instrumental in Anaheim’s comeback win Friday.
The 40-year-old Selanne tied the game late in the third period and the 19-year-old Fowler scored in overtime to lead the Ducks to a thrilling 5-4 victory over the Calgary Flames.
Fowler fired home the winner at 4:41 of a back-and-forth extra period, cutting in on Flames netminder Miikka Kiprusoff and burying a backhand for his seventh goal of the season.
“I just saw a little bit of lane and closed my eyes and threw it at the net and luckily it went in,” Fowler said. “I didn’t get as much on it as I would have liked and it looked like it fooled him a little bit. They always say that backhanders are the hardest to stop.”
Selanne has been impressed with the rookie defenceman’s play this season.
“Cam Fowler is an amazing hockey player,” said Selanne, who assisted on the winner and had three helpers on the night. “It’s unbelievable that young guys like that can come into the league and dominate in pretty much every area. If this guy doesn’t win the Norris Trophy one day, it’s going to be a crime.”
Selanne says the presence of Fowler and so many other young players makes veterans like himself feel invigorated.
“When we watch guys like Fowler and all the young guys play like that, we feel younger too,” Selanne said.
Saku Koivu, with two goals and an assist, and Brandon McMillan also scored for Anaheim (31-21-4). Rene Bourque, Olli Jokinen, Jarome Iginla and Curtis Glencross replied for Calgary (28-21-8).
The Ducks won their fifth straight road game to move into a tie with San Jose for fourth in the Western Conference.
“This was huge for us. If we drop this one, Calgary jumps ahead of us in the standings and now we bump up to fourth,” Fowler said. “You can just see the degree of difficulty that’s involved in a conference like this. Every game is huge and all the points matter and we’re lucky to come out of here with two.”
Calgary remains in eighth spot, one point up on the Minnesota Wild.
“It was a hard fought game, a game that went back and forth,” said Flames coach Brent Sutter. “Momentum changed at different times throughout the game but when you’re up a goal going into the last two minutes, you can’t take a penalty.”
Selanne’s tying goal came with Glencross in the penalty box for hooking Corey Perry. It was the Flames only penalty of the night.
Brendan Morrison lost the faceoff deep in the Flames end and then lost track of Selanne in the slot as the one-timed Ryan Getzlaf’s centring pass behind Kiprusoff.
“We battled hard here but we made a couple mistakes and with the offensive players that they have, you have to be wary, and you have to make very few mistakes as they’re a very opportunistic team,” said Morrison.
Glencross, who had scored the game-winning goal in each of the two previous games, had given the Flames a 4-3 lead at 8:18 of the third, snapping a shot over the shoulder of goaltender Curtis McElhinney. The goal came less than three minutes after Iginla had tied it with his team-leading 23rd.
Despite the loss, Calgary takes its 8-0-2 streak into Saturday night’s game in Vancouver against the Conference-leading Canucks.
“We got the one point and we’ve got to go forward,” said Glencross. “We’ve got another game in 24 hours and we’ve got to go back out and get another two points.”
After falling behind 2-1 in the second on goals 41 seconds apart from Bourque and Jokinen, Anaheim regained the lead midway in the period with two goals in a 2:38 stretch.
Koivu tied it at 7:34 and a pretty short-handed goal from 20-year-old rookie McMillan put the Ducks ahead 3-2.
Although Jonas Hiller (fatigue) was activated from injured reserve on Friday, McElhinney made his third start in a row and first against his former team.
McElhinney, who finished with 21 stops, is 6-5-1 on the season. In parts of three seasons with the Flames, he won just four times in 29 appearances.
“Curtis has been real strong with us. He’s had more of an opportunity with us than he had with the Flames because of the situation he’s in,” said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle.
Kiprusoff made 25 saves for the Flames.
Notes: Calgary LW Alex Tanguay (neck) missed his second game … Selanne’s three assists gives him 690 in his career, moving him past Maurice Richard and into 53rd on the NHL’s all-time list … Calgary D Cory Sarich played in career game No. 800 … Anaheim D Francois Beauchemin was in the lineup for the first time since Wednesday’s trade with Toronto. Beauchemin spent four seasons with the Ducks before signing with Toronto as a free agent in July 2009.