PLAYOFF SERIES: Western Conference finals; Mighty Ducks lead 2-0.
Giguere, coming off shutouts in the first two games of the Western Conference finals, looks to lead the Anaheim Mighty Ducks to a three-games-to-none lead when the series shifts to the Arrowhead Pond for Game 3.
Giguere is putting together one of the best postseasons by a goalie in NHL history. He is 10-2 with a 1.32 goals-against average, a .956 save percentage and three shutouts.
After opening this series with a 1-0 victory in double overtime Saturday, Giguere recorded his second consecutive shutout with 24 saves in a 2-0 win on Monday.
“I can’t do it all by myself,” Giguere said. “I saw every shot. My D took all the rebounds away and they were really tough in front of the net.”
Giguere is the fourth goalie in NHL history to post back-to-back shutouts in the conference finals, extending his playoff shutout streak to 153 minutes, 17 seconds—going back to the third period of Anaheim’s Game 6 clincher against Dallas.
He can become the first goalie to open a series with three straight shutouts since Toronto’s Frank McCool did it against Detroit in 1945.
In six games against the Wild this season, Giguere has allowed just six goals.
Minnesota has to be wondering what is has to do to beat Giguere.
“Obviously, one goal could do a world of good for our hockey club right now,” Wild forward Andrew Brunette said. “It’s tough, but we can’t worry about it. Forget about talking about it, let’s just go back to playing the way we always play and treat him like every other goalie.”
Despite their favorable position, Anaheim is well aware that Minnesota is the only team in NHL history to rally from a 3-1 series deficit twice in the same postseason.
“They are a very dangerous team,” Niedermayer said. “They came back from 3-1 last two series. We have to realize that. If we give them any life, they’ll take it and run with it.”
The Wild should be happy to get away from the Xcel Energy Center, where they are just 2-6 in the playoffs. Minnesota has won three straight and six of eight postseason games on the road.
Giguere also has helped shut down Minnesota’s power play, which is 0-for-8 in this series. The Wild still have the best success rate with a manpower advantage in the playoffs at 23.1 percent (15-for-65).
Since winning three straight against Colorado in the quarterfinals, Fernandez has lost his last three starts—all in overtime. Roloson had won three in a row before losing Monday.
Game 4 is Friday in Anaheim.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Wild - 6th seed; beat Colorado Avalanche 4-3, quarterfinals; beat Vancouver Canucks 4-3, semifinals. Mighty Ducks - 7th seed; beat Detroit Red Wings 4-0, quarterfinals; beat Dallas Stars 4-2, semifinals.
PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Wild - Marian Gaborik, 9 goals and 17 points; Sergei Zholtok, 11 assists; Filip Kuba, 22 PIM. Mighty Ducks - five with 3 goals; Mike Leclerc, 5 assists and 7 points; Niedermayer and Ruslan Salei, 14 PIM.
PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Wild - Power play: 23.1 percent (15 for 65). Penalty killing: 82.1 percent (46 for 56). Mighty Ducks - Power play: 8.9 percent (4 for 45). Penalty killing: 87.8 percent (36 for 41).
GOALTENDERS: Wild - Roloson (5-5, 2.41 GAA); Fernandez (3-3, 1.93). Mighty Ducks - Giguere (10-2, 3 SO, 1.32); Martin Gerber (0-0, 3.00).
REGULAR SEASON SERIES: Mighty Ducks, 2-1-0-1. Giguere and Roloson were excellent as the teams combined for just 10 goals in four meetings. Giguere was 2-2 with a 1.48 GAA while Roloson was 2-1 with a 0.98 GAA.