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04/14/2014 12:16 AM EDT
Bonino puts Ducks past Avalanche in season finale
ANAHEIM 3, COLORADO 2 (OT)

By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Teemu Selanne and Jean-Sebastien Giguere
skated to center ice under a spotlight on the darkened rink,
their clasped hands held aloft.

Before Selanne's Ducks and Giguere's Colorado Avalanche head to
the playoffs in a few days, these two beloved Ducks savored one
last chance to feel Anaheim's mighty love for them.

Nick Bonino scored 1:33 into overtime, and the Ducks finished
the best regular season in franchise history with a 3-2 victory
over Colorado on Sunday night.

But with their playoff position secure, the Ducks used the game
to honor Selanne, who plans to retire after the season.

Wearing the captain's "C," the 43-year-old Finnish Flash got
standing ovations on every shift in the third period in Anaheim,
his home for 15 of his 21 NHL seasons.

"It was more emotion than I ever imagined," said Selanne, the
15th-leading scorer in NHL history with 1,457 points. "Over all
the years, these fans have treated me so great. I never expected
that, though. It was overwhelming."

The largest Ducks crowd of the season serenaded Selanne with
applause all night, peaking in wild cheers whenever he touched
the puck in Colorado's end - even if he narrowly missed several
chances to add to his 684 career goals, 11th in NHL history.

Selanne took a few laps around the rink after he was awarded all
three postgame stars, waving at fans and pounding his heart.
When he shook hands with every player on both teams, he seized
the chance to share the spotlight with Giguere, who also is
leaning toward retirement.

"For him to do that, it's something that's very special for me,
and something I'll never forget," said Giguere, who had two
arena suites filled with family and friends.

"He's such a class act. I got the game puck for him. He deserves
such an ovation for everything he's done for Orange County and
the Ducks."

During a first-period timeout, the crowd also stood to cheer
Giguere, who stopped 33 shots. "Jiggy" will always be adored in
Anaheim after backstopping the once-Mighty Ducks to two Stanley
Cup finals, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy in defeat in 2003 and
hoisting the Cup in 2007.

"It was the best time in my career," Giguere said of the
championship season. "There's no doubt about it, and I'm sure it
was Teemu's, too. I can't think of a better guy to have won the
Cup with."

Selanne hit the outside of Giguere's post with a shot in the
second, and the Flash had several fruitless chances on the power
play. He got another golden opportunity with 3 1/2 minutes left
in regulation, but Giguere robbed him.

Selanne and Giguere were the stars of a no-stakes meeting of the
Western Conference's two division champions. Anaheim clinched
the West's top spot Saturday, while Colorado won the Central
earlier Sunday when St. Louis lost.

The Ducks will face Dallas in the first round starting
Wednesday, while the Avalanche open against Minnesota on
Thursday.

"I was so happy for him to play," Colorado coach Patrick Roy
said of Giguere. "He wanted to play that game for a while, and
we were planning to give it to him.

"But obviously the plans changed for a while because we had a
chance to finish first in our division. And as soon as Detroit
beat St. Louis today, the first thing I did was call Jiggy and
said `You're in. Enjoy the night."'

Patrick Maroon and Saku Koivu scored 3:13 apart to tie it early
in the third period for the Ducks, who won seven of nine to
close the season. John Gibson made 29 saves to remain unbeaten
in his third career start.

The Ducks won it when Devante Smith-Pelly controlled the puck in
the slot and passed to Bonino, who scored his 22nd goal. Anaheim
set club records for victories (54), points (116), goals (263)
and comeback victories (26) with this big finish.

"That's going to be the more forgotten-about overtime goal in
the history of the Ducks," Bonino said with a laugh. "It was T's
night, and we're all happy for him."

Brad Malone and Stefan Elliott scored for the Avalanche, who
lost for just the third time in 11 games. The West's most
surprising team lost when leading after two periods for just the
third time in 38 games this season, but still finished with a
club record-tying 52 wins - a record 26 on the road.

NOTES: The Ducks rested captain Ryan Getzlaf, who still finished
second in the NHL scoring race with 87 points, and Corey Perry,
who came in second in the Richard Trophy race with 43 goals. ..
These teams opened the season in Denver. The Avalanche's 6-1
victory included a shouting match between coaches Bruce Boudreau
and Roy. ... Longtime Ducks star Paul Kariya made a rare return
to Honda Center for the tribute game, his good friend and
longtime teammate. Selanne spent the 2003-04 season with
Colorado, teaming with Kariya in a fruitless attempt to win a
quick Stanley Cup. Selanne returned to Anaheim after the NHL
lockout.

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