PLAYOFF SERIES: Western Conference semifinals; Mighty Ducks lead 3-2.
Giguere looks to return to the dominant form he has displayed during these playoffs as the Mighty Ducks try to close out the Dallas Stars at home in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Giguere has been the best goaltender of the postseason, but he gave up three goals in two periods and sat out the third as the Stars avoided elimination by winning 4-1 on Saturday.
“All I can do is forget about it,” Giguere said. “The next game is a new challenge. This is a learning process for me. The next game will be a great battle and I am looking forward to it.”
While Anaheim is 3-1 at the Arrowhead Pond during the playoffs, and went 22-10-7-2 at home during the regular season, Dallas is coming off its best game of the postseason.
The Mighty Ducks stunned the Stars by winning the first two games of the series at the American Airlines Center, but Anaheim probably doesn’t want to have to try for a third victory there in Game 7.
“Our team has the ability to control our own destiny if we play as well as we can,” Stars coach Dave Tippett said. “I told them we needed to push out of our comfort zone and into the nasty zone.”
Another concern for the Ducks is their offense, which has produced just enough to be successful during the team’s amazing playoff run, but has managed only one goal in each of the last three games.
Kariya provided Anaheim’s only offense Saturday, scoring on a rebound early in the third period.
“We just need to play the next game with the same sense of urgency that Dallas played with today,” Ducks forward Steve Thomas said.
Dallas has stuck to the offensive approach it settled on before the series— going to the Anaheim net and creating havoc in front of Giguere.
“We needed to score a couple goals on them just to show he’s not unbeatable,” said Pierre Turgeon, who talked his way into the Stars’ lineup and contributed an assist after being scratched from Game 4.
“We wanted to disrupt him and put a lot of traffic in front of him.”
Dallas was so focused on that task Saturday that Anaheim coach Mike Babcock said the physical abuse Giguere took was part of the reason for the decision to bench him.
“I thought the goaltender interference was absolutely out of control,” Babcock said. “There were a ton of things going on in front of the net that weren’t being called. I felt it was imperative to get our guy out of there. I didn’t think it was worth it.”
Despite Babcock’s complaints, the bigger Stars should continue to drive to the net in Game 6.
Dallas has also rounded into form defensively, allowing only 15 shots on goal Saturday. Stars goalie Marty Turco, whose solid play has been overshadowed by Giguere’s brilliance, has allowed only three goals in the last three games.
Game 7, if necessary, will be Wednesday in Dallas.
PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Stars - Modano, 5 goals and 14 points; Modano and Zubov, 9 assists, Derian Hatcher, 33 PIM. Mighty Ducks - Kariya, Jason Krog and Rucchin, 3 goals; Sykora, 4 assists; Kariya, 6 points; Rob Niedermayer, 12 PIM.
PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Stars - Power play: 16.4 percent (9 for 55). Penalty killing: 91.5 percent (43 for 47). Mighty Ducks - Power play: 7.9 percent (3 for 38). Penalty killing: 86.7 percent (26 for 30).
REGULAR SEASON SERIES: Stars, 3-1-1. Giguere struggled in his two regular-season games against Dallas, getting chased from both, giving up seven goals in little more than four periods. Gerber was the goaltender Dallas had trouble against, as he went 1-1-1 with a 1.68 GAA in the series. Turco went 3-0-1 with a 1.02 GAA in four starts.