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This article was published 17/12/2011 (3265 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
You won't find many games where the third star brings down the house.
The MTS Centre faithful were plenty pleased with their Winnipeg Jets in a 5-3 victory Saturday night over the Anaheim Ducks but they had the best of both worlds when Ducks right-winger Teemu Selanne, the former Jets superstar, collected two assists and got a standing ovation for his post-game selection.
After the final horn, Selanne also tossed a couple of sticks over the glass and into the seats.
"It was awesome," said Ducks winger Corey Perry, last season's Hart Trophy winner. "He's a class-act guy and I think they did it right tonight.
"They cheered every time he had the puck and they booed everybody else on our team. That's a special night for him."
The night started with a roar when Selanne followed Ducks goalie Dan Ellis onto the ice for the warmup.
The volume went up when fans started an impromptu "Teemu, Teemu," prompting another standing ovation before the national anthems.
Selanne acknowledged the fans at that point from the bench with waves and salutes.
"Emotion was very high," Selanne, 41, said after playing 19:04 in his first game here in almost 16 years. "I tried to stay focused but I was still very emotional. Just a great feeling. Even the warmup, all the signs and the (No.) 13 Winnipeg Jets jerseys. I felt like everybody was watching me.
"I was thinking earlier, 'What else could I experience in my career?' There's nothing that comes in my mind."
After the anthems, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau held Selanne out of the starting lineup for a purpose.
"My whole thought was, the starting lineup they don't announce," Boudreau said. "I wanted to wait for a whistle and then get the reaction when he went on the ice. My biggest fear was that there would be no whistle for four minutes and I'd have to keep him on the bench. So I was glad that before the game they gave him the tribute they did.
"I thought this was more special."
Selanne hopped over the boards for an offensive-zone faceoff 32 seconds into the game and the people rose from their seats.
And as the game proceeded, they cheered the Finnish Flash each time he touched the puck, and booed other Ducks players when they did.
All mixed in with the usual chants of "Go Jets Go."
"That was pretty chilling," Boudreau said. "Take the game away and it was pretty emotional. I was getting emotional. I can only imagine what Teemu was feeling in the first 10 minutes.
"It would have been hard to play. But we muddled through and the fans were great to him."
Boudreau had to call his timeout after Blake Wheeler's 2-0 goal at 7:19 of the first.
"When I called the timeout, that's was basically what I said: 'You guys are focusing on everything but the game. That's why we're down 2-0.' "
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf was amazed with what he saw in the MTS Centre.
"The end result wasn't what we wanted to give Teemu tonight but we were pretty impressed with the way the crowd responded to him," Getzlaf said. "It says everything that we already know about him. He's one of the best humans we know."
Selanne's playing return to Winnipeg began in the wee hours of Saturday when the Ducks arrived from Chicago. Nearly two dozen fans were waiting for him at the team's downtown hotel.
"It was 15 years ago when I played here last night," he said. "It was unbelievable that there were so many people waiting, almost 3 o'clock in the morning. That kind of stuff makes you feel very special."
The day also included a full-blown rock-star-style press conference on Saturday morning.
"It was a busy day for him," Boudreau said. "I wish it wasn't quite so busy a day but you knew that it would be with the build-up, whether it's Hockey Night in Canada, or the Canadian press.
"I mean, he deserved the reception he got and he put in four fabulous years here."
Special for Selanne siblings
Teemu Selanne left Winnipeg Saturday night, offering many thanks for the reception he received and especially for showing his three sons and one daughter what passion for hockey is all about.
"I tried to teach (my children) that when you treat people well, they're going to treat you well also," Selanne said. "As a hockey player, I think that signing a couple of autographs here and there, if that can make some people happy, that's worth it. My boys are growing up in California where hockey is not as big as here, that's why this was very special for them to come here and realize that there's a real passion for hockey that these people have here. They'll remember this for sure for the rest of their lives."