Fantastic Finnish

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:58 AM ET

DETROIT -- Teemu Selanne was forced to give himself, the Anaheim Ducks and hockey history a big push and is succeeding on all fronts.

A non-factor early in the Western Conference final, the Finnish Flash now has four points in the past two games against the Red Wings, helping a pair of victory rallies, moving the Ducks a win away from the Stanley Cup final and a possible end to the second-longest championship drought among active players.

"That was probably my biggest (goal)," Selanne said of beating Dominik Hasek at 11:57 of overtime yesterday for a 2-1 win. "Hopefully, there are more to come."

Selanne had the first assist on Scott Niedermayer's game-tying goal with 48 seconds left in regulation and assisted on Ryan Getzlaf's Game 4 winner.

Selanne has gone 1,041 regular season games without a Cup, second to Trevor Linden of the Vancouver Canucks (1,323), and could get a chance to join the likes of late-arriving champs Ray Bourque and Dave Andreychuk if the Ducks end it tomorrow at home.

The Ducks' roll call in this amazing series has included Selanne, Niedermayer (one overtime goal, one in the last minute) and goaltender J.S. Giguere, now 10-1 in OT.

"If I knew why, I'd write a book about it," Giguere said of his heroics beyond 60 minutes. "If you look at my regular season overtime record, it's not the case, but it happens (in playoffs) because guys like Selanne almost always get the big goals."

Giguere faced 37 shots and was beaten only by Andreas Lilja, a deflection off Getzlaf.

Lilja and Nick Lidstrom were two of the Wings' seven Swedes profiled in a local newspaper yesterday, but Niedermayer's 6-on-4 goal hit Lidstrom's stick to fool Hasek. Lilja, less than a minute from being credited with the winner, was checked by Andy McDonald in front of Hasek, which sprung Selanne.

"There's a short space between hero and disaster," Lilja said. "I was trying (to pass), but McDonald came at me quick. I didn't have to say anything in the room. They know I messed up."

The Wings were also within a few minutes of holding Anaheim to a club record low of 14 shots and had the benefit of a Joe Motzko penalty. Motzko and Ryan Carter were lineup gambles on coach Randy Carlyle's part as he tried to shake up a team dominated by Detroit the past three games.

A questionable call on Pavel Datsyuk for impeding McDonald gave the Ducks a 6-on-4 to tie the game after Detroit missed two chances to clear and Henrik Zetterberg missed the empty net.

That gave Selanne a chance to work his high backhand over Hasek, whose sprawling dives Selanne knows very well since they both broke into the league in the early 1990s.

"I was patient, he was even more patient," Hasek said. "Not only was it a nice move, he made a great shot, right under the bar."

The Ducks missed on three early power plays, but Detroit was a glaring 0-for-7 by day's end, including one in overtime.

"This series has been crazy," said Ducks young forward Corey Perry.

"Back and forth, lucky bounces, weird goals and lots of (video) replay."

Anaheim defenceman Chris Pronger ended up laughing off the constant booing from 20,003 at Joe Louis Arena, reaction to his one-game suspension for a head shot against Tomas Holmstrom. He made a good play to keep the puck alive on Niedermayer's goal.

"There has to be a bad guy on every team," Pronger said of the jeers. "It wasn't the first time, and it won,t be the last."


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