Teemu Selanne capped a remarkable comeback season with his 40th goal on a power play midway through the third period, lifting the Mighty Ducks to a 4-3 victory over the Flames on Monday night. The teams combined for 102 minutes in penalties, and everyone on the ice was trying to send a message.
"Obviously, their game plan was to go after our skill players, and that's posturing for the playoffs," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "That's the way the playoffs are. You earn every inch of space on the ice. I think the officials are going to have to take control of some of the situations. I thought they did a heck of a job tonight in that respect."
The Ducks will be embarking on their fourth playoff run in the franchise's 12-year history -- capping off Henry and Susan Samueli's first season as the team's owners, Brian Burke's first as Anaheim's general manager and Carlyle's first as an NHL head coach.
The Ducks averaged 15,131 in home attendance, their largest since 1998-99 and 1,143 more per game than 2002-03, when they came within one victory of winning the Stanley Cup.
"I think we have more speed than we did in 2003," Selanne said. "This team is really young, and I believe that speed is really going to be the key. As long as the referees keep calling it the way they should be, I think we're going to be just fine."
Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, the 2003 playoff MVP, stopped 29 shots to finish 30-15-11 with a 2.66 goals-against average. The Ducks finished third in the Pacific Division with a franchise-best 43 victories and 98 points, the highest total in club history. Their previous best was 95 in 2002-03. They also set club records with 251 goals and 87 on the power play.
"That doesn't mean much now," captain Scott Niedermayer said. "We've got a tough opponent in the playoffs and we want to go out there and concentrate on beating those guys and perform as well as we can. We have to keep our focus and play our game. They're going to make it tough, so we're going to have to pay a bit of price in front of the net - get into the corners and work hard."
Rookies Chris Kunitz and Corey Perry scored power-play goals less than five minutes apart in the first period. Andy McDonald got his 34th goal and rookie Ryan Getzlaf had three assists for the Ducks.
The Northwest Division champion Flames are the third seed in the Western Conference and will host Anaheim on Friday and Sunday before the series shifts back to Anaheim. They split the season series, with each team winning twice on its own rink. Calgary has beaten Anaheim only once in the last 13 meetings at the Pond.
"They're a very quick team and they've got some very good young guys," Flames captain Jarome Iginla said. "Their top line with Teemu and McDonald is having a great year, and they have good goaltending. So we're going to just try to play to our strengths. We know that it's going to be tough, but it's nice that the playoffs are finally here."
Anaheim received a two-man advantage after roughing penalties 23 seconds apart against Kristian Huselius and Robyn Regehr. Getzlaf faked a long slapshot and fed the puck to Selanne standing at the left of the crease for his 42nd game-winner with Anaheim -- two shy of Paul Kariya's club record.
"I knew that a lot of people probably thought that I was done," said Selanne, who underwent knee surgery in the offseason after scoring a career-low 16 goals in 78 games last season with Colorado. "But I knew that if I got my wheels back, anything was possible. It's great to be back here and playing with Andy and Kunie. That's really helped me."
The Ducks were treading water with an 18-16-7 record at the midway point of the season when Getzlaf and Perry both were promoted from the minors on Jan. 8. Getzlaf has 10 goals and 22 assists in 41 games since then, and Perry has 12 goals and seven assists.
Iginla, Byron Ritchie and Daymond Langkow scored for the Flames, who finished 46-25-11 with 103 standings points. It's the first time they have reached triple digits since 1990-91 and fourth time in the franchise's 33-year history.
Coach Darryl Sutter gave Vezina Trophy candidate Miikka Kiprusoff an extra day to rest up for the playoffs after 15 consecutive starts in net, and Brian Boucher made 30 saves in his first start since March 18.
Kiprusoff set a club record for victories with his 42-20-11 record. His 2.07 GAA and 10 shutouts lead the league. ... This was Anaheim's final regular-season game as the "Mighty Ducks." Starting next season, the team will be just the Ducks. ... The Flames finished 16-18-7 on the road. Anaheim was a club-record 26-10-5 at home.