Giguere Stops 24 Shots to Win Goaltenders’ Duel


The best, most intense battle Wednesday at the Arrowhead Pond was fought not in the corners, in the slots or on the wings. It was contested at opposite ends of the rink, almost 200 feet apart.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere of the Mighty Ducks and Evgeni Nabokov of the San Jose Sharks waged the sort of old-time-hockey goaltenders’ duel that used to be commonplace in the NHL. Giguere, 23, and Nabokov, 25, certainly upheld the tradition, though.

In the end, Giguere was one save better than Nabokov and the Ducks took a hard-earned, 1-0, victory from the Sharks before an announced crowd of 12,973. Giguere made 24 saves for his first shutout in his 45th game with his third NHL team.


“It becomes his best game for us because we won,” Duck Coach Guy Charron said. “He’ll build a lot of confidence with this game. Some nights he’s played about as well, but it just didn’t happen for him. It’s a well-deserved shutout tonight.”

Several times in the final frantic moments, Giguere turned away the Sharks, prompting standing ovations from the crowd.

Nabokov had 16 saves, but couldn’t stop Duck defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky’s power-play slap shot midway through the second period. After an 11-game winless streak at the Pond, the Ducks have won two in a row.

“It was just two young goaltenders playing to the best of their abilities,” Charron said. “When you win, 1-0, though, there’s a lot of people doing good things out there.”

San Jose had several quality scoring chances in the third period, but Giguere denied the Sharks each time. Other saves were more impressive, but Giguere’s stop on a breakaway by San Jose’s Alexander Korolyuk 4:34 into the final period was perhaps the most important.

Giguere also thwarted Tony Granato from point-blank range twice, once early in the second period and again late in the game. “The one at the end of the third, he shot it right into my stomach,” Giguere said.


“It’s great to see him settle in and be a guy you can count on,” winger Dan Bylsma said.

Charron raised more than a few eyebrows when he named Giguere the team’s No. 1 goalie for the rest of the season, moving original Duck Guy Hebert to the bench last week.

“He’s fed off that,” Charron said of naming Giguere his top goalie. “It’s an opportunity for him to play, to build confidence and establish himself as an NHL goalie. He’s really making key saves for us. If we do have a defensive breakdown, the puck is not necessarily in our net like it has been in the past. It’s the difference between winning and losing.”

Nabokov made a glove save on Tverdovsky on a breakaway while the Ducks were shorthanded with 4:26 left in the first period, the only good chance for either team in the opening period.

For a while, it looked as if it might be the only good chance for either team. San Jose, playing without suspended captain Owen Nolan and injured forward Vincent Damphousse, was determined to play a tight-checking game.

A bit of undisciplined play cost the Sharks, however. And the Ducks’ power play made them pay. Tverdovsky whistled a shot from the high slot over Nabokov’s right shoulder while the Ducks were skating five on three at the 8:57 mark of the second period.

Right winger Teemu Selanne slipped the puck to Tverdovsky from the left wing and Tverdovsky sent a laser into the back of the net for his 10th goal.


It’s the third time in his seven-season career that Tverdovsky has scored 10 or more goals in a season. He had a career-best 15 last season and 10 while playing for the Phoenix Coyotes in 1996-97.

“When you have a five on three, you have to capitalize,” Charron said. “It can be frustrating sometimes at home because the fans are expecting you to score and your execution isn’t so good. Oleg had a great shot and it was all we needed.”