Bonino puts Ducks past Avalanche in season finale
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Nick Bonino scored 1:33 into overtime, and the Anaheim Ducks finished the best regular season in franchise history with a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night.
Devante Smith-Pelly controlled the puck in the slot and passed to Bonino, who wrapped up Anaheim’s 54th victory with his 22nd goal.
With their playoff position secure, the Ducks used the game to honor Teemu Selanne, who plans to retire after the season. The 43-year-old Finnish Flash got standing ovations on every shift in the third period in Anaheim, his home for 15 of his 21 NHL seasons.
Selanne was honored as all three postgame stars in a no-stakes meeting of the Western Conference’s two division champions. Anaheim clinched the West’s top spot Saturday, while Colorado won the Central earlier Sunday when St. Louis lost.
The Ducks will face Dallas in the first round starting Wednesday, while the Avalanche open against Minnesota on Thursday.
Patrick Maroon and Saku Koivu scored 3:13 apart to tie it early in the third period for the Ducks, who won seven of nine to close the season. John Gibson made 29 saves to remain unbeaten in his third career start.
Brad Malone and Stefan Elliott scored for the Avalanche, who lost for just the third time in 11 games. Longtime Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 33 shots in possibly his final game on his longtime home rink.
Selanne wore the captain’s “C″ while Honda Center gave tribute to Selanne throughout the night. The largest Ducks crowd of the season serenaded Selanne with applause peaking in wild cheers whenever he touched the puck in Colorado’s end, even if he didn’t add to his 684 career goals, 11th in NHL history.
Selanne took a few laps around the rink afterward, waving at fans and shaking hands with his fellow players. Selanne then grabbed Giguere and took his longtime teammate on a victory lap, their clasped hands held aloft.
The Anaheim crowd also gave a standing ovation to Giguere during a first-period timeout in what could be his final regular-season game.
Giguere, who is leaning toward retirement, will always be beloved in Orange County after backstopping the once-Mighty Ducks to two Stanley Cup finals, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy in defeat in 2003 and hoisting the Cup in 2007.
The Ducks rested captain Ryan Getzlaf, who was second in the NHL scoring race with 87 points, and Corey Perry, who was second in the Richard Trophy race with 43 goals.
Malone scored his third goal of the season in the first period when he hacked at a puck under Gibson’s left pad and nudged it in. Officials initially waved off the goal before counting it on video review.
Elliott, who spent the season with Lake Erie in the AHL, put the Avalanche up 2-0 with his first goal of the season late in the second period.
Selanne hit the outside of Giguere’s post with a shot in the second, and the Flash had several fruitless chances on the power play. He got another golden opportunity with 3½ minutes left in regulation, but longtime teammate Giguere robbed him.
On Selanne’s first shift of the third period, Mathieu Perreault centered a pass to Maroon for the tough forward’s 11th goal of his breakthrough season.
NOTES: These teams opened the season in Denver. The Avalanche’s 6-1 victory included a shouting match between coaches Bruce Boudreau and Patrick Roy. ... Longtime Ducks star Paul Kariya made a rare return to Honda Center for the tribute game, his good friend and longtime teammate. Selanne spent the 2003-04 season with Colorado, teaming with Kariya in a fruitless attempt to win a quick Stanley Cup. Selanne returned to Anaheim after the NHL lockout.