COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Anaheim Ducks had a game to play, although their minds were 2,000 miles away.
Word leaked out to the Ducks just before the start that they had clinched the Pacific Division, thanks to Vancouver's 4-3 overtime victory over second-place San Jose.
"I was looking at the scoreboard like every 10 seconds in warmups," Selanne said with a laugh.
Knowing they were assured of the Pacific title and the No. 2 seed in the West -- and a first-round matchup with Minnesota -- the Ducks relaxed early. Rick Nash scored a quick goal for the Blue Jackets.
"We knew we had solidified our position before the game started," coach Randy Carlyle said. "We played like it in the first little while. You can't blame the players in those situations. The relief - it's a natural human trait to sit back."
Not having to win their regular-season finale was a luxury, captain Scott Niedermayer said.
"It was obviously a little different once the San Jose game finished, but we wanted to still go out and try to play hard," he said.
Columbus rallied for two late goals to cut into a 4-1 deficit, and Chimera and Brule got off shots in the waning seconds while a crowd of 17,391 roared. But Ilya Bryzgalov had saves on both, turning away 42 shots. The Blue Jackets' 45 shots were a season high.
Despite neither team having much at stake -- Columbus began the night 23 points out the final playoff spot in the Western Conference -- both played with an edge. Nash opened the scoring on a nifty move 3:30 in, then picked up a five-minute major for charging that seemed to spark both teams.
Niedermayer was involved in one lengthy verbal spat near the Columbus bench and fought with Ron Hainsey.
"Anaheim plays with an edge all the time," Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We play with an edge now. We've worked really hard to develop that over time."
In between all the jawing and the punches, the Ducks answered with two first-period goals.
Selanne evened it with a backhand off a pass from Getzlaf on the power play, then Penner stole the puck from the Blue Jackets' Derrick Walser and skated in, deking goaltender Fredrik Norrena down to the ice and tucking the puck inside the near post for his 29th goal.
Selanne added his second goal of the game -- and 48th of the season -- when he took a pass from Getzlaf and went in alone from the right side to beat Norrena high over his left shoulder.
Getzlaf skated past Columbus forward Sergei Fedorov, who has been playing defense, to score and make it 4-1.
Norrena was replaced during the second intermission by Tomas Popperle.
Brule scored a soft goal midway through the third period, his shot from the right point eluding Bryzgalov on the glove side. Less than 5 minutes later, Chimera pulled Columbus to 4-3 when he swooped in from the right wing and his shot deflected off a defenseman and past Bryzgalov.
There was no huge celebration in the Anaheim dressing room. The Ducks didn't pour champagne because they know they still have a lot of work ahead.
"This team's ready," Selanne said. "We want to raise our level. It's no secret."
|Teemu Selanne gets a shot past Columbus' Fredrik Norrena, who is replaced by Tomas Popperle. (AP)|
|Anaheim (48-20-14) «||2||2||0||4|
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|03:30||Rick Nash (29), Wrist Shot - Assists: Fredrik Modin, Anders Eriksson|
|13:15||Power Play - Teemu Selanne (48), Backhand Shot - Assists: Ryan Getzlaf, Rob Niedermayer|
|16:29||Dustin Penner (29), Backhand Shot - Unassisted.|
|07:24||Power Play - Teemu Selanne (49), Wrist Shot - Assists: Ryan Getzlaf, Francois Beauchemin|
|19:32||Ryan Getzlaf (25), Wrist Shot - Assist: Corey Perry|
|08:06||Gilbert Brule (9), Slap Shot - Assists: Jason Chimera, Rostislav Klesla|
|12:27||Jason Chimera (15), Wrist Shot - Assists: Ron Hainsey, Fredrik Modin|
|05:27||McDonald: Slashing - 2 min.|
|12:51||Svitov: Roughing - 2 min.|
|17:12||O'Donnell: Roughing - 2 min.|
|17:12||Nash: Charging - 5 min.|
|17:12||Niedermayer: Game Misconduct - 10 min.|
|17:12||Malhotra: Game Misconduct - 10 min.|
|17:45||Niedermayer: Boarding - 2 min.|
|17:45||Niedermayer: Fighting - 5 min.|
|17:45||Hainsey: Instigator - 2 min.|
|17:45||Hainsey: Fighting - 5 min.|
|17:45||Hainsey: Game Misconduct - 10 min.|
|05:26||Nash: Hooking - 2 min.|
|12:20||Getzlaf: Slashing - 4 min.|
|12:20||Nash: Roughing - 2 min.|
|05:15||Huskins: Tripping - 2 min.|
|11:13||Svitov: Interference - 2 min.|
|11:13||Pahlsson: Interference - 2 min.|
|13:11||Getzlaf: Slashing - 2 min.|
|SHOTS ON GOAL|
|Attendance - 17391|
|Referees - Mike Leggo, Wes McCauley|
|Linesmen - Pat Dapuzzo, Jay Sharrers|