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Teemu Selanne on Ducks' first line in team's hour of need

SportsOlympicsRyan GetzlafTeemu SelanneKyle PalmieriPatrick MaroonJakob Silfverberg

DENVER -- Teemu Selanne will join the Ducks’ first line as left wing alongside stars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry on Friday night in one of the team’s most telling games of the season against the Colorado Avalanche.

After getting drubbed 7-2 by the lowly Calgary Flames, the Ducks return to Colorado for the first time since the Oct. 2 season opener, when Avalanche Coach Patrick Roy went ballistic and nearly broke through a glass partition to fight Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau as Colorado won by a 6-1 rout.

“We remember it well … I just want them to have long memories of what it was like the last time we were here, and take it from there – the Calgary game adding on to that,” Boudreau said. “Those are the games we’d love to have do-overs, and now we get one.

“We’re going to try to get two points and I think that’ll snowball us in the other direction.”

Losers of four games ina row, the Ducks (43-16-7) have been passed by the St. Louis Blues (45-14-7) for the Western Conference lead, and the San Jose Sharks tied the Ducks for the Pacific Division lead with 93 points by beating Columbus on Thursday night. The Ducks have played one less game than the Sharks.

Into the drama strides Selanne, the 43-year-old MVP of the Olympic hockey tournament, who hasn’t scored a point in his five post-Olympic games with the Ducks but is certainly enthused by this opportunity after not scoring a goal since Jan. 15.

Boudreau said he expects Selanne to “play well” in his first time with Getzlaf and Perry since the Oct. 6 game in Winnipeg, when Selanne had four shots.

“I’m hoping he brings the same kind of energy and passion he brought to us in that game,” Boudreau said. “It’s been musical chairs with Perry and Getzlaf on that left side. You kill two birds with one stone if 'T' gets going and the line is successful. Then we can keep the other three lines intact.”

The other morning-skate lines Friday were Matt Beleskey-Mathieu Perreault-Jakob Silfverberg, Andrew Cogliano-Saku Koivu-Daniel Winnik, and Kyle Palmieri-Nick Bonino-Patrick Maroon. Jonas Hiller was the first goalie off the ice, indicating he'll start while Boudreau also mixed up the defensive pairs.

In Russia, Selanne said he appreciated the endorsement of being needed on the first line of Team Finland, which won the bronze medal over Team USA while Selanne scored four goals in six games.

He said adjusting to the left wing after playing his career on the right side is something he expects to go smoothly.

 “Every time you have a chance with those two guys, it’s fun [and] I haven’t had a chance to do that for years, pretty much, but those guys are unbelievable players and hopefully we’ll do well,” Selanne said.

Perry, leading the Ducks with 35 goals – five since the break ended – said the Selanne addition after first-line attempts with Kyle Palmieri and Patrick Maroon should be “great for us.”

“He’s a guy in the past you’ve seen score goals, and if he can get that going, it’ll be a huge benefit for him and us,” Perry said.

“I’m very happy about that chance that [Boudreau] has given to me and I’ll try to take advantage of it,” Selanne said. “The game is easier when you play on the first line. You still have to work, I’m excited for the challenge, for sure.

“All the great teams have to go through a tough time. This is it for us. It’s kept us honest and reminded us to work hard and do the right things. We need everybody and it’s going to make us strong.”

Lance.pugmire@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimespugmire

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