Over the defenseman. Through the tangle of bodies in front of the goaltender. Off the teammate's visor.
Nothing but net.
Teemu Selanne's seventh goal in five games was pure luck, no question. But his third-period header at the left goalpost after defenseman Ruslan Salei airmailed him the puck from the right point enabled the Anaheim Mighty Ducks to tie the Toronto Maple Leafs, 2-2, Tuesday.
"I don't think he tried to deflect it with his head on purpose. It's not soccer," Coach Pierre Page said, laughing about Selanne's good fortune.
Said Selanne, who kept the Ducks unbeaten at 1-0-2 in the first three games of their five-game East Coast trip:
"I didn't know it was the puck that hit me. I thought it was a stick that hit me. All of a sudden, the puck was in the net. I thought, 'Wow, how did that happen?' "
Players, officials and the sellout crowd of 15,707 wondered the same thing. Referee Mark Faucette asked the video replay goal judge to take a look at how the puck got behind Toronto goalie Felix Potvin at the 8:04 mark of the third period.
What the replay judge saw was Salei fire a rising slap shot over a diving Maple Leaf defenseman and past a number of players that included Selanne. Selanne flinched as the puck neared his face, drawing up his right arm to protect himself.
Because he was a moment too slow, the puck struck his protective visor instead of his arm and ricocheted into the net. Potvin never had a chance.
"I just shoot the puck because there were many guys in front of the net," Salei said. "Just keep it simple. Maybe it will touch somebody and go in, just like it did."
After a moment's review upstairs in the press box, replay judge Al Dawe ruled it a goal.
"Sometimes it's just a lot of luck," said Selanne, who extended his goal-scoring streak to a team-record-tying five games. "Sometimes you have five breakaways and don't score."
Stars score early and often
NEW YORK -- The Dallas Stars got the jump on their five-game road trip with three first-period goals.
That turned out to be enough as Dallas held off the New York Rangers, 3-2.
Defenseman Richard Matvichuk scored two goals in a 1:12 span of the first and assisted on Dallas' third goal by Joe Nieuwendyk in the period's final minute.
Matvichuk jumped into the play after the opening faceoff, forcing Rangers goalie Mike Richter to make a tough save in the opening seconds before the two-goal flurry.
"If you see a guy go up there and you can be the second one up, you can jump in, and that worked well tonight," Matvichuk said. "The puck went into the net for me and I'm just happy to contribute."
Matvichuk scored at 3:07 and 4:19, both goals coming with the teams skating 4-on-4.
Mike Keane scored both Rangers goals.
The Rangers presented Wayne Gretzky with a golden hockey stick before the game to commemorate his historic 1,851st assist Sunday. It gave him more assists than any other player has points.
Gretzky's wife Janet Jones, injured last week when she was struck on the head by a pane of plexiglass while sitting rinkside, returned to Madison Square Garden to witness the ceremony and stayed for the game.
Around the rinks
Jozef Stumpel scored the tying goal for Los Angeles with 14 seconds left in regulation, and the game ended in a 2-2 tie even though the Panthers outshot the Kings, 26-12. Steve Washburn and Jody Hull scored for Florida. . . . Jarome Iginla scored twice and rookie goalie Tyler Moss made 26 saves to win his first NHL start as the Flames beat the Penguins, 6-3. It was only the second win of the season for the Flames (2-8-2). The Penguins ended an eight-game road trip -- the longest in franchise history -- with a 5-2-1 record. The Flames had to come back from an early three-goal deficit. "The butterflies went away after the warmup, but they came back pretty quick after the game started," Moss said after holding the Penguins scoreless for the final 51 minutes. "It feels great to get the win. I just want to get my feet wet and show them I belong here." . . . Houston Rockets owner Les Alexander has reached an oral agreement to buy the Edmonton Oilers, a television station reported. Houston station KRIV cited sources it didn't identify as saying Oilers owner Peter Pocklington has agreed to a sale.