Selanne's Illegal Stick Costs Ducks

Thursday, April 5th 2007, 8:11 am

By: News On 6

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ Ron Wilson knows Teemu Selanne quite well, having coached him in San Jose and Anaheim. He's also been around the NHL long enough to recognize an illegal stick when he sees one.

So the Sharks coach bided his time until the right opportunity presented itself to catch the Ducks' all-time leading goal scorer red-handed.

An illegal stick penalty on Selanne negated an Anaheim power-play at the start of overtime, and the Sharks went on to beat the Ducks 3-2 in a shootout on Wednesday night.

``I wasn't very happy about what happened,'' Selanne said. ``Obviously, I didn't expect that call. Whether it was classy or not, it was Ron Wilson's decision. He's not my favorite coach anymore.''

Selanne used poor ice surfaces as an excuse for altering his sticks.

``The ice is so bad in the NHL, you have to have that because the puck is bouncing all over,'' said Selanne, who had scored 537 goals in his career. ``I'll bet there's a lot of guys that do, but you have to respect the rule.''

In the other NHL game Wednesday night, Washington beat Atlanta 3-2.

Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle took full responsibility for the mistake and tried to deflect the blame away from his best player.

``The issue of the stick is my fault, in the sense that I have to make sure that I reinforce and even go to a point where all the sticks are measured,'' Carlyle said. ``I have to make sure that those things are not an issue, and they were tonight. It might have cost us a point, it might not have. But I'll accept the responsibility.''

Wilson, who coached the Ducks during the franchise's first four seasons, never shies away from gaining that extra edge _ psychological or otherwise.

``We had an inkling that his stick might be too wide,'' Wilson said. ``When you look at it, it's almost the length of a goalie stick. I was just rolling the dice, and I figured I'd do it in the overtime and it worked.''

San Jose's Scott Hannan and Steve Bernier tied the score with second-period goals. Jonathan Cheechoo and Ryane Clowe connected in the shootout against Ilya Bryzgalov, who made 29 saves. The Sharks reached 50 wins for the first time in franchise history.

Forced to use a regulation stick in the shootout, Selanne lost the handle on the puck as he approached the net with the Ducks' second attempt. Clowe beat Bryzgalov to the glove side with a short backhander, and the Ducks' Andy McDonald fanned on his shot at the other end.

McDonald and Scott Niedermayer scored first-period goals for the Pacific Division-leading Ducks. They conclude the regular season Saturday night at Columbus before opening up the playoffs next week at Honda Center.

The Sharks finished a combined 18-13-1 against Pacific Division opponents. They played their final road game of the regular season and ended up 26-14-1 away from HP Pavilion _ the first time they've finished with more than 19 road wins in their 16-year history.

After spotting Anaheim a 2-0 lead, Hannan got San Jose on the board at 7:57 of the second period with a slap shot from the right point while Bernier and Mike Grier were screening Bryzgalov. Bernier tied it at 15:42 of the period with a short-hander for his 15th goal, following a turnover behind the net by Anaheim defenseman Joe DiPenta.

Anaheim opened the scoring at 6:19 of the first period, McDonald took a 25-foot wrist shot that sneaked between Evgeni Nabokov's pads for his 27th goal and eighth in 12 games. Nabokov made 37 saves, six in overtime.

Niedermayer made it 2-0 on a power play at 14:01 of the period with his 15th goal, surpassing his previous career high set in 2003-04 with New Jersey when he won the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman.

Bryzgalov got the start in place of Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who became a father for the first time early Wednesday morning. His son, Maxime Olivier Giguere, checked in 20 minutes after midnight local time, weighing 6 pounds and 8 ounces.

Capitals 3, Thrashers 2

Alex Ovechkin scored twice in the second-period at Atlanta, leading Washington to its second straight victory after six consecutive losses. Brent Johnson made 30 saves, surviving a Flames power play during the final 1 1/2 minutes _ including a two-man advantage for the final 44.6 seconds.

Andy Sutton had a short-handed goal and Ilya Kovalchuk also scored for the Thrashers, who remain one point ahead of Tampa Bay in the Southeast and host the Lightning on Saturday. Kovalchuk's goal was his 40th of the season and 200th of his career.

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