<
>

Jiggy's historic night has Ducks smelling sweep

5/15/2003

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Jiggy and those amazing Mighty Ducks are
one win away from the Stanley Cup finals.

Anaheim goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere was a bit incredulous
Wednesday night after he recorded his third consecutive shutout in
the Western Conference finals. The Ducks beat the Minnesota Wild
4-0 for a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.

"It is a little surreal,'' said Giguere, who made 35 saves.
"Obviously the team has been playing unbelievably in front of me,
the defensemen playing so well, the forwards are coming back to
help them. They're blocking so many shots in front of me.''

A stunning 11-2 in the playoffs, the Ducks can sweep Minnesota
with a victory Friday night in Anaheim.

Paul Kariya scored twice during a three-goal flurry as Anaheim
took control in the second period.

Playing in his first postseason, Giguere extended his
sensational run by becoming the first goaltender in modern league
history to record three consecutive shutouts in the next-to-last
round of the playoffs.

"He's unbelievable,'' Anaheim defenseman Keith Carney said.
"Three shutouts in a row in the conference finals is pretty
amazing. They had some quality chances, but he was there every
time.''

The 25-year-old goaltender's scoreless streak reached 213
minutes, 17 seconds, going back to the third period of the Ducks'
clinching Game 6 victory over Dallas. The playoff record is 270:08
by Montreal's George Hainsworth in 1930.

"They're playing so well. The goalie is a big part of it, no
doubt,'' Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said. "We tried to move
the puck across, and he still made saves on it. We tried in the
other games to shoot more. He still made saves.''

Giguere, who has four shutouts in the playoffs, has stopped 98
Minnesota shots in the conference finals. He became the first
goalie to open a series with three straight shutouts since
Toronto's Frank McCool against Detroit in 1945.

In Anaheim's first one-sided win of the postseason, Steve
Rucchin scored 4:59 into the game. In the second period, Kariya
scored, Stanislav Chistov scored, then Kariya scored again and
suddenly the Ducks had the first big lead of the playoffs.

Lemaire, who has alternated goaltenders through the playoffs,
pulled Dwayne Roloson after the Ducks scored their third goal.
Manny Fernandez gave up another goal shortly afterward.

"They had some good chances,'' Fernandez said. "They really
came through. Unlike the other two games, I felt they really showed
up tonight.''

He allowed one goal in seven shots, while Roloson allowed three
goals while facing 16 shots.

Kariya made it 2-0 with his slap shot from the slot after Adam
Oates fed him a perfect pass from behind the net. Chistov scored
four minutes later when he wristed a back-hander past Roloson.

Kariya scored his second goal of the game and team-high fifth of
the playoffs just 1:35 later with a baseball-like swing after the
puck bounced off Fernandez's pads into the air just to the goalie's
left.

Officials reviewed the play and determined Kariya's stick was
not above the crossbar.

The Wild rallied from 3-1 series deficits against both Colorado
and Vancouver to win both series. But Minnesota faces considerably
longer odds now.

Only two teams have come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a
playoff series: The 1975 New York Islanders rallied to beat
Pittsburgh in the quarterfinals, and the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs
came back to beat Detroit in the Stanley Cup finals.

The seventh-seeded Ducks, in the postseason just twice
previously and never having advanced beyond the second round, swept
defending Cup champion Detroit in the first round this year.

Among Giguere's saves was a fine block on Marian Gaborik's
uncontested breakaway 6½ minutes into the game. In perfect
position, as he usually seems to be, Giguere went to the ice on his
knees at the last second. Gaborik, who has nine goals in the
playoffs, tried to slip the puck between the goalie's legs.

Instead, the puck hit Giguere's pads and bounced away.

"Maybe it's a result of the breakaway, not scoring and other
chances that we had that we didn't score, that gave them a lift,''
Lemaire said.

Game notes
The two-goal game was the second in Kariya's career.
The other was in April 27, 1997 and included a game-winner in the
first round against Phoenix. ... The Ducks have scored first in
eight playoff games this year and won all eight. ... Giguere had a
shutout streak of 237 minutes, 7 seconds last Dec. 6-18, the
longest in the NHL since a 245:07 string by Toronto's Turk Broda in
1950, and the third longest ever. Montreal's Bill Durnan had a
309:21 scoreless streak in 1949.