Another Mighty win for Jiggy and the Ducks

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St. Paul, MN (Sports Network) - scored at 8:06 of the second overtime period and made 39 saves to lift the of Anaheim to a 1-0 victory over the Minnesota in the opener of the Western Conference finals at Xcel Energy Center. Game 2 of the best-of-seven series between the surprise teams is scheduled for Monday in Minnesota. The sixth-seeded have home-ice advantage in the series after rallying from a pair of 3-1 deficits in the first two rounds. Minnesota, in just its third NHL season, has already beaten Colorado and Vancouver in its initial playoff campaign. Anaheim, the seventh seed, has knocked off top seeds Dallas and Detroit to reach its first-ever conference final. The Ducks have won all three of their series-openers this playoff season and all three victories have come in multiple overtimes. scored in the third extra period in the opener of the first round against Detroit and Sykora scored 48 seconds into the fifth overtime session in the first game of the second-round series against Dallas. Sykora scored this winner on a 2-on-1 rush. raced the puck into the Minnesota zone along the left wing and fed a pass as he drew a defender toward him. Sykora picked up the puck and skated down the slot before lifting a backhander over Minnesota goaltender . "Mike...made a beautiful pass to me," said Sykora, whose only two playoff goals this spring have been overtime winners. "I was just trying to make my move and it worked." Fernandez made 25 saves. He was the surprise starter for the after backstopped Minnesota to three straight wins against Vancouver in the previous series. Roloson has been somewhat bothered by a groin strain, but the were also playing their third game in four days. "Rollie was a little injured from the last series," said head coach Jacques Lemaire. "With only one day in between games, I didn't want him to re- aggravate his injury. As it turned out, Manny played a very good game." Giguere, though, was again brilliant for Anaheim and turned in his second career playoff shutout. He made eight saves in the first period, 11 in the second and 10 in the third, then turned aside all 10 shots he faced during overtime. The 39 saves were the fewest Giguere has made in a series-opener this playoff season. He finished with 63 saves against Detroit in the triple-overtime win, then stopped 60 shots in the five-overtime thriller against Dallas. The Ducks improved to 5-0 in overtime during the 2003 playoffs and Giguere ran his overtime shutout streak to 159 minutes and 5 seconds -- the second-longest behind 's run of 162:56 during the 1996 and '97 playoff seasons. All three of Anaheim's wins against Minnesota this season have come in 1-0 shutouts by Giguere, as he was in net for a pair of victories during the regular season. A scoreless first period featured numerous chances for Minnesota and particularly . Zholtok had at least three good scoring chances, including two on a power play. Zholtok had a deflection ring off the crossbar and moments later had a shot from in close stopped by Giguere. After the power play expired, Zholtok took a feed from and had a point-blank shot from the slot turned aside by the netminder. The went on the power play again midway through the second period and Giguere made another incredible save to keep the game scoreless. drew Giguere out of the crease and made a pass from the right side to , who was all alone in front. Gaborik quickly backhanded a shot toward the empty net, but Giguere dove across the goal line and made the save with the paddle of his stick. "I saw the puck slowly going in and I just put my stick out to make that save," said Giguere. "I was pretty lucky on that one." The Ducks had a good scoring chance moments later after a Minnesota turnover, but Fernandez made a glove save on Sykora's shot from the left circle. Fernandez also turned aside a deflection by with just over four minutes left in the second period. Minnesota outshot Anaheim 10-4 in the third period, but Giguere and Fernandez were there for each one and managed to keep it scoreless. The Ducks nearly won it in the closing seconds of regulation, but Sykora's shot from the right point hit the post just before time expired. "I don't think we had our A-game tonight," said Ducks head coach Mike Babcock. "But we seemed to get better as the game went on. We didn't seem to have the zip we normally have." had a chance just 11 seconds into the first overtime, but his shot from the right circle was stopped by Fernandez. Minnesota had a 2-on-1 just over 5 1/2 minutes into the extra period, but fanned on 's pass. Giguere turned aside Ronning from the slot about a minute later and Zholtok had another chance from the slot stopped by the netminder soon after. The went on the power play with 4:42 remaining in the period when was whistled off for interference, but Anaheim killed it off without allowing a shot on goal. Minnesota, which entered the game with the best power play in the playoffs, finished 0-for-5. The were 15-for-57 entering the contest. "We had a few power play chances," said Minnesota's . "Maybe if we had capitalized on those it may have been a different story." Minnesota fell to 2-5 at home this playoff season. The 's only two wins on home ice came in each Game 6 of the first two rounds. Anaheim improved to 5-1 on the road in the 2003 playoffs. This is the first Western Conference final series to not include Detroit, Dallas or Colorado since 1994 when Vancouver played Toronto.

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