WINNIPEG — Teemu Selanne had cheers rain down on him from Winnipeg Jets fans on Saturday.
The Finnish Flash repaid them by scoring twice, including the winner with four seconds left, and adding three assists as the Jets defeated the Edmonton Oilers 6-5 in the Heritage Classic alumni game at Investors Group Field.
Selanne, who’s been retired for two seasons, claimed the victory when he beat goalie Curtis Joseph between the pads on a penalty shot.
Edmonton was leading 5-4 early in the third on a goal by B.J. MacDonald when Kris King scored his second of the game to tie it up in front of 31,317 fans.
Selanne had scored the game’s first goal on a penalty shot on the way to a 4-1 Winnipeg lead in the first period. King, Dale Hawerchuk and Mike Eagles had those early goals.
But the Oilers scored three straight in the second thanks to Craig Simpson, Mark Messier and Craig McTavish.
Fan Tyson Snelling was sporting a Selanne jersey as he sipped a beer during the second intermission.
“It’s his dedication to the city,” Snelling said about cheering for Selanne, who received the key to city Friday from Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman.
“He’s a people person and every-day hard worker. It’s what we expect and what we see here in Winnipeg and Manitoba.”
The rivalry between the long-time foes was in full force before the puck even dropped under overcast skies and a temperature of 11 C.
Messier was booed when he was introduced, and heard more jeers when he scored.
That didn’t bother fan Darren Nickoshie, who was sporting a Messier jersey and enjoying the action of the old-timers.
“Oh well, I can’t do anything about (the boos), but I was cheering,” said Nickoshie. “There’s so many Oiler jerseys here. I didn’t expect that. I thought, ‘Oh no, I’m going to get mauled.”‘
He was surprised the alumni were as fast as they were.
“Holy, it’s almost like a real game,” Nickoshie said.
Winnipeg and Edmonton were in the World Hockey Association from 1972-79, with the Jets winning three Avco Cup championships.
The edge then turned to the Oilers after the teams entered the NHL in 1979. From 1983-89, they met five times in the playoffs, with Edmonton only losing one of their 19 games. The Oilers claimed the Stanley Cup in 1984, ’85, ’87 and ’88.
The driving force was Wayne Gretzky, who was playing in his second NHL outdoor game on Saturday. Gretzky was held off the score sheet.