ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Teemu Selanne was skating slightly backward when he decided he could still beat Jimmy Howard. He received a pass and instantly flung a pinpoint wrist shot at the net, finding a small opening behind the Detroit goalie.
The 42-year-old Finnish Flash's talents are pretty much timeless, and his timely goal got the Anaheim Ducks off to a solid playoff start.
Selanne scored the tiebreaking power-play goal early in the third period, Jonas Hiller made 21 saves, and the Ducks rolled to a 3-1 victory over the Red Wings on Tuesday night.
Nick Bonino also scored a power-play goal, and Francois Beauchemin added an empty-netter as the second-seeded Ducks hung on in the final minutes of the opener in just their second playoff series in four years.
"That's what we were expecting," said Selanne, in his 20th NHL season. "We know how good they are, and we needed a good, solid effort. We know it's not going to be easy."
Selanne just makes it look that way sometimes.
He came up with yet another huge goal for the Pacific Division champions, putting a perfectly placed one-timer over Howard's shoulder while gliding away from the net. The remarkable feat of skill was his 42nd career playoff goal — and a reminder of Anaheim's wealth of talent despite an unimpressive finish to a fine season.
"It just came into my mind," Selanne said with a shrug. "Usually you try to hold the puck, but it came into my mind that if I got the puck, I'm going to try to shoot."
Game 2 is Thursday at Honda Center.
Captain Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry led a strong offensive effort by the Pacific Division champions, who finished the regular season with the best winning percentage in franchise history. Anaheim also excelled on the power play, little surprise for the NHL's fourth-ranked unit in the regular season.
Coach Bruce Boudreau also looked smart for choosing Hiller over first-year co-starter Viktor Fasth for the opener. Both goalies won 15 games in the regular season, but Boudreau went with his Swiss veteran, who came up with a handful of spectacular saves.
"We wanted to start strong at home, and it's important to get that first one and have some confidence," Hiller said. "We played very solid in our end, and that makes it easier for a goalie. Even the goal they scored was a lucky bounce for them."
Howard stopped 24 shots and Daniel Cleary scored on a power play for the Red Wings in their 22nd consecutive postseason appearance. While Detroit played the Ducks evenly at full strength, Anaheim's special-teams skill decided it.
"I didn't think we were great," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "I didn't think we moved the puck very good. Give them credit. They're part of that equation. ... I thought their team was better than our team today. I thought they controlled the game and had more cycles."