VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)—Teemu Selanne’s face was swollen and bruised, his right eye a mixture of yellow and purple, his cheek stitched up, and a golf ball sized welt protruding unnaturally from his jaw line.
Still, the Anaheim Ducks sniper couldn’t stop smiling.
“Upper body injury,” said Selanne, bursting into laughter despite being cut by a high stick for the third time in this series alone. “Unbelievable, but stuff happens.”
For the Ducks, the jokes came easier after the third period Tuesday night.
Selanne tied the game with 5:42 left as Anaheim rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period. Then Travis Moen scored 2:07 into overtime to give the Ducks a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks and a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“A lot of guys were really ticked off about how we played,” Selanne said. “So it was time to step up and do 10 percent more. That’s what the coach asked us to do after the second.”
Markus Naslund and Brendan Morrison staked the Canucks to a 2-0 lead, but Jean-Sebastien Giguere robbed Naslund from the slot 3:30 into the third period. Chris Pronger tied it 30 seconds later with a screened shot from the point. Pronger, who along with teammate Scott Niedermayer is a finalist for the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman, then set up the tying goal with another long shot.
The rebound went straight to Selanne, who had an easy tap-in from the side of the net because Canucks defenseman Sami Salo had lost his stick earlier in the play.
“I think we’re all a little frustrated about how we play,” said Selanne, who tied it on just his second shot in two games. “I don’t think we’re at the level we can play. Hopefully we can use this third period as a confidence boost for us and just try to carry over Thursday because we need to play better.”
Giguere finished with 24 saves for the Ducks, who can advance to the Western Conference finals for the second time in four seasons Thursday night in Anaheim.
“Jiggy made a huge save for us there and kept us in it,” said Moen, who made up for a gaffe on the Canucks’ second goal by scoring the winner.
Niedermayer’s point shot hit a crowd in the crease and bounced to Moen in the slot, where he quickly snapped it past Roberto Luongo low on the stick side.
“It was nice to get that one back,” said Moen. “We came in after the second and knew we had to have a better period to win the game, and we just went out and battled—lots of hits, lots of shots on net with lots of traffic in front.”
It was a rough ending to an otherwise great day for Luongo, who is a finalist for the Hart Trophy as league MVP; the Vezina Trophy as top goaltender; and the Lester Pearson Award as the players’ choice for most outstanding player.
“We said before we went out (for the third) to keep pushing and not sit back, but for some reason I don’t know what happens when we have a two-goal lead. But we’re not too good at preserving those leads,” said Luongo, who made 28 saves.
Things started well for the Canucks.
Naslund opened the scoring midway through the first period after Bryan Smolinski’s screen helped create a rebound of Mattias Ohlund’s point shot, firing in the loose puck for his third goal in as many games after going seven without one. The play started with some good work along the boards by veteran Trevor Linden, who picked up the second assist and leads the Canucks with seven playoff points.
Anaheim had a great chance to tie after Josh Green cut Selanne with a high stick while killing a penalty, resulting in a four-minute penalty that started with a 5-on-3 power play for 38 seconds. But Luongo stopped Andy MacDonald from the side of the net and the advantage ended with a Ducks penalty for too many men on the ice.
Morrison scored his first of the playoffs with 2:29 left in the second period after outracing Moen to create a 2-on-1. Morrison cut back into the middle past Niedermayer, who was picked by Moen at the top of the crease, and backhanded a shot that hit Moen and bounced between Giguere’s legs.
“We knew coming into the third we had to have a big period, maybe our best of the series, and we came out, did the little things right and got the win,” said Moen.
And with it, plenty of reasons to smile.
Notes: Vancouver got D Kevin Bieksa back from an undisclosed injury for the first time in this series. But tough guy Jeff Cowan, who was playing on the second line and had two of Vancouver’s five goals through three matches, had knee surgery earlier in the day. Rookie D Alexander Edler was scratched to make room for Bieksa. … Identical twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Vancouver’s top scoring forwards all season, were benched for the Canucks’ first man advantage. They were also split up at even strength for the end of the second period, but back on the ice together for both Anaheim goals in the third.