By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
Friday, January 12, 2007; 5:29 AM
-- It had been nearly six years since Teemu Selanne had a hat trick. None have been more special than the one he had in the Anaheim Ducks' 5-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.
Earlier on Thursday, Selanne had a phone conversation with a close friend in Finland. The friend has terminal cancer and asked Selanne to send him the puck if he had three goals.
Selanne promised to oblige but warned the friend that he hadn't had a hat trick since March 29, 2001, in a game against the Ducks when Selanne played for the San Jose Sharks.
"Today he found out that the cancer has spread to his brain," said Selanne, who has 19 career hat tricks. "I don't think he has much time to live. So I told him if I scored a hat trick I'd keep the puck. I told him the odds weren't very good that it would happen. Obviously it was really a sad day today, but what are you going to do? Life is not fair sometimes."
Hat tricks used to be a regular thing for Selanne, so his first three-goal outburst in almost six years was special for the 36-year-old native of Finland.
"In old times when I was younger, when I got two I knew I was going to get three and I wanted the third more than those first two," said Selanne, who improved to 28 goals for the season. "But as you get older, you're not so greedy anymore. It was one of those nights when the puck finds a way to get into the net."
In other NHL games Thursday night, it was: Minnesota 5, Vancouver 2; San Jose 5, Los Angeles 2; Calgary 7, Colorado 3; Detroit 5, Phoenix 1; Ottawa 6, New York Rangers 4; Toronto 4, Buffalo 2; Carolina 6, Florida 4; New York Islanders 5, Boston 4, SO; Montreal 4, Philadelphia 2; and Tampa Bay 5, Washington 4.
Scott Niedermayer and Joe DiPenta added goals for the visiting Ducks, whose 67 points lead the Western Conference despite a recent slump.
"It's big for us to have the group come out like that and have a full effort right from the start," Anaheim center Ryan Getzlaf said.
Wild 5, Canucks 2
Marian Gaborik scored twice to help Minnesota snap an 11-game winless streak on the road.
The win also put an end to Vancouver's season-high seven-game winning streak.
Gaborik, who added an assist, was playing just his third game since returning to the Minnesota lineup after missing 34 games with a serious groin injury.
Sharks 5, Kings 2
Patrick Marleau set a franchise record for career goals, Mark Bell and Milan Michalek scored the tying and go-ahead goals 4 1/2 minutes apart in the second period, and the Sharks beat the host Kings.
Rookie Ryane Clowe also scored for the Sharks with an assist from Marleau, and Vesa Toskala posted his fourth straight victory with 22 saves, helping the Sharks win for the fourth time in five games. Patrick Rissmiller scored into an empty net with 1:26 to play and also assisted on Marleau's goal.
Rookie Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist and Michael Cammalleri also scored for Los Angeles.
Flames 7, Avalanche 3
Daymond Langkow had two goals and two assists as the Flames had a season-high offensive output in a win over the host Avalanche.
Tony Amonte had a goal and two assists for Calgary. Kristian Huselius scored two goals and added an assist.
Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff finished with 27 saves.
Red Wings 5, Coyotes 1
Tomas Holmstrom scored three goals and had an assist for the Red Wings.
The loss snapped the Coyotes' seven-game winning streak, and Detroit picked up its second straight victory on the final leg of its current road trip.
Pavel Datsyuk scored the other two goals for the Red Wings.
Yanic Perreault scored the lone goal for Phoenix.
Senators 6, Rangers 4
Daniel Alfredsson gave Ottawa a five-goal lead early in the third period and the Senators then held off New York's furious rally to beat the host Rangers.
Just two nights after a lackluster 5-3 home loss to the New York Islanders that snapped a four-game winning streak and caused a rare postgame rant from coach Tom Renney, the Rangers fell behind 5-0 early in the third period.
Ray Emery and the Senators were cruising when Alfredsson's goal at 1:02 of the third sent many Rangers fans home early.
They missed a lot. This one wasn't settled until Dany Heatley's empty-net goal with 34 seconds left.
Maple Leafs 4, Sabres 2
Jeff O'Neill scored twice and Mats Sundin added two assists, lifting the banged-up Maple Leafs to the victory.
Alex Steen had a goal and assist, and Pavel Kubina also scored in a game visiting Toronto never trailed. Sundin's two assists gave him 495 with Toronto, moving him into third on the team's career list, two ahead of former captain Dave Keon.
Hurricanes 6, Panthers 4
Cory Stillman scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period, and Carolina rallied from a three-goal deficit to beat visiting Florida.
Chad LaRose, Erik Cole, Scott Walker, Craig Adams and Ray Whitney also scored for the Hurricanes, who trailed 3-0 after two periods before scoring their first five goals in about a 10-minute span of the third.
Whitney's goal was an empty-netter in the final seconds which closed a six-goal third period _ the first time they've had five or more goals in the third since scoring five on Oct. 28, 2005, against Philadelphia.
Olli Jokinen scored two goals and Juraj Kolnik and Stephen Weiss added one goal apiece for the Panthers.
Islanders 5, Bruins 4, SO
Jason Blake and Miroslav Satan each scored goals in the shootout to lift the visiting Islanders over the Bruins.
Satan scored on the Islanders' first shootout attempt and the Bruins extended it to sudden death when Marc Savard scored on the Bruins' third shot. Brad Boyes than failed to convert and Blake put a shot over the shoulder of Bruins goalie Hannu Toivonen for the winner.
Canadiens 4, Flyers 2
Chris Higgins scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period and added an assist to help the Canadiens beat Philadelphia, handing the host Flyers their fifth straight loss.
Mike Johnson, Alex Kovalev, and Michael Ryder also scored for the Canadiens, who won their second straight.
Jeff Carter and Joni Pitkanen scored for the Flyers.
Lightning 5, Capitals 4
Vincent Lecavalier had two goals and an assist and Martin St. Louis snapped a third-period tie with his 28th goal of the season, giving the Lightning a win over the visiting Capitals.
Vinny Prospal had a goal and two assists and Ryan Craig also scored for the Lightning, who got 18 saves from goaltender Johan Holmqvist to match a season high with their third straight win.
Alexander Semen scored two goals and Alexander Ovechkin had two assists for Washington.