Giguere grabbed a share of the league lead with his sixth shutout and Paul Kariya scored in the first period as the Ducks held on for their second 1-0 blanking of the Wild this season.
Anaheim followed a familiar formula in the finale of a 2-1-0 road trip. On November 10, Giguere stopped 26 shots and got a first-period goal from rookie Stanislav Chistov to defeat Minnesota. In this one, Giguere made 33 saves and got all the offense he needed from Kariya in the opening period.
“I saw the puck pretty well tonight,” Giguere said. “They’re a team that comes to the net pretty hard, but I battled through it. The only one I didn’t see went off the post.”
That was a shot midway through the third by Cliff Ronning, who also tested Giguere on a rebound with three minutes left in the period.
“There was one at the end of the third against Ronning where I had to make a two-pad slide. For the rest, most of the shots were from the outside, and the defense did a good job picking up the rebounds,” Giguere said.
The Wild had a 33-13 advantage in shots but were shut out for the second time on a 2-4-0 homestand.
“Ugly … we didn’t have a very good homestand,” left wing Andrew Brunette said. “I don’t know if it was focus. We got behind the eight-ball right away, we came back strong. I thought the Phoenix game was going to be the game that we were going to turn around this homestand, but we came out flat against Buffalo.”
Kariya ended a 12-game drought just 5:39 into the contest. He picked off a cross-ice pass by Antti Laaksonen at the Minnesota blue line, moved toward the slot and fired a slap shot past the glove of goaltender Dwayne Roloson.
“It’s been a tough three weeks, but it was nice to help the team tonight,” said Kariya, who leads the Ducks with 16 goals but had not scored since December 19. “It wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take the two points, especially in this rink.”
Anaheim generated precious little offense, but Giguere helped the Ducks kill all four power plays.
“He stole more than a few games for us this year,” center Matt Cullen said. “We rely on him pretty heavily and he’s done a great job for us this year. He just battles and he’s a great competitor. That’s what we need. We really feed off him.”
The Wild did not test Giguere until midway through the second period when defenseman Lubomir Sekeras fired a slap shot off his left pad.
“We battled well. The only thing that was missing there was a goal,” Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said. “If we got a goal, it would be a lot different.”
“It seems like we had good chances all over the place,” Ronning added. “Their goalie stood the fort. He got a well-deserved shutout, he made some good saves.”