Teemu Selanne hadn't scored a goal in more than nine games, which can be slightly disconcerting for a 42-year-old.
At the close of a third-period shift against the NHL's top team Wednesday, Selanne was feeling all of his age. His legs tiring, oxygen getting sparse.
But then with 4 minutes 23 seconds remaining, teammate Ryan Getzlaf delivered a superb pass, and Selanne reconnected with what he does best, scoring the deciding goal in the Ducks' 4-2 regulation victory over the Chicago Blackhawks at Honda Center.
A Ducks official "said he knew Teemu would score in this one because this is the type of game he scores in," Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said.
That compliment accompanied Selanne to a loftier place in NHL annals, as his 107th game-winning goal moved him into a tie for 15th in the all-time scoring list with New York Islanders legend Bryan Trottier.
"Going 10 games without a goal, it's frustrating," Selanne said.
"I knew it was going to come. It's a huge confidence booster."
Selanne expressed concern at the season's start about how his body would withstand and recover in the compressed post-lockout schedule. He'd scored just once since Feb. 24 and twice since Feb. 9.
"I had done things like that before, there was no way I was panicking, but it's something I felt … I want to be a big part of what we're doing," Selanne said.
Boudreau placed Selanne in the Ducks' first line with captain Getzlaf while wing Corey Perry completed his four-game suspension.
"That was a great way for Teemu to break out of his slump," Boudreau said. "That's leadership.... I was really happy for him. You know the great players always find a way."
What appeared to be a goal by Chicago left wing Brandon Bollig was disallowed with 14:03 remaining in the third period, turning a tentative 3-1 Blackhawks lead into the second life the Ducks breathed in to post their 14th comeback victory of the season.
Chicago's Johnny Oduya fired a shot that bounced off Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller, and Bollig moved in, but he displayed a distinct kicking motion — not allowed — as the puck kicked off his right skate into the net.
A standing-room-only crowd of 17,610 filled Honda Center, the largest home gathering in the Ducks' history.
In addition to the Ducks' pursuit of a 13th consecutive home win, the game between the top two NHL teams marked the first time in league history that teams with such lofty records had met 25 games into the season.
Boudreau was miffed that no official saw Andrew Cogliano being whacked in the face by a stick from Chicago's Bollig in the third period.
"He lost I don't know how many teeth," Boudreau said. "It boggles the mind."