Selanne's late score lifts Ducks to victory over Penguins
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Penguins coach Dan Bylsma celebrated the three-year anniversary of his hiring by seeing an old teammate from his playing days ruin the night.
Teemu Selanne scored the 656th goal of his career to break a third-period tie in Anaheim's 2-1 victory at Consol Energy Center on Wednesday, ending the Penguins' six-game home win streak.
This game, particularly the final two periods, was not a classic example of Bylsma hockey.
The normally up-tempo Penguins, who had scored 13 goals in two games over the weekend, looked lethargic.
"We did not play the type of game we want to play," Bylsma said.
The Penguins don't mind relying on special teams to win games, but they didn't play that game, either. They were awarded only one power play, something that did not go unnoticed by defenseman Kris Letang, who believes games are being called differently now than when he entered the NHL.
"It is frustrating," Letang said, "especially when they were calling everything a few years ago. If a stick went up on a guy then, it was a penalty. But it looks like that's not the case anymore. The referees allow a lot more on the ice."
The game was largely played at even strength, and after failing to maintain the 1-0 lead center Jordan Staal provided, the Penguins "turned it into a 50-50 game," according to Bylsma.
Historically, there is nothing 50-50 about giving Selanne a breakaway, and the future Hall of Famer took full advantage of Letang's turnover by beating Fleury with a backhand move.
"When he gets the puck behind you like that," Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek said, "there's no way you're catching him. It looks like he can play for many more years."
When the Penguins are at their best under Bylsma, they always own the third period. This was not the case against an Anaheim team that is suddenly making a playoff push under new coach Bruce Boudreau.
"We turned over too many pucks to get any flow in the game," Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen said. "We were OK in the first period. They disrupted the flow of the game after that. We never got into it."
Reigning NHL MVP Corey Perry evened the game late in the first period, and it seemed only inevitable that the Ducks would take control. The Penguins' outshot Anaheim in the early stages, 4-0, but the Ducks outshot the Penguins, 29-22, for the rest of the game. Bylsma's squad had 13 shots on net during the final two periods.
"We played about eight minutes extremely well," Bylsma said of the game's start.
It was all downhill after that.
With only one power-play opportunity, the Penguins were unable to generate quality five-on-five chances, largely because the top line sustained an unusually quiet night.
Center Evgeni Malkin's streak of eight straight home games with a goal was snapped three shy of Mario Lemieux's team record.
"It was a combination of them playing well, and (us) not," Michalek said. "They played a good game. We just couldn't get much going. Definitely was frustrating for us."
The Penguins, who entered the game with the NHL's fifth best power-play mark, were displeased to only receive one opportunity. Making matters worse, left wing Chris Kunitz received a slashing penalty with 2:43 remaining that effectively eliminated any opportunity for a comeback.
"You can't really control what they call," Niskanen said. "But our power play has been really good lately. It would have been nice to get another try at it."
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