Giguere Setting New Goal Standard

Times Staff Writer

With the NHL All-Star game around the corner, the Mighty Ducks have 48 points, which matches Colorado's total for eighth place in the Western Conference.

Not bad for a team that most hockey experts predicted would finish last in the Pacific Division.

"Here we are on Jan. 20, and we're still around," first-year Duck Coach Mike Babcock said after practice Sunday at the Arrowhead Pond. "We haven't gone away and that's the plan."

A huge key to the Ducks' success has been their defense and the play of goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, tied with Chicago's Jocelyn Thibault with an NHL-high six shutouts this season.

The Ducks have a 2.96 goals-against average, ninth in the NHL, and their 113 goals allowed is fifth-best in the Western Conference. The Ducks would be ranked even higher if they hadn't given up 19 goals in losing four consecutive road games in late December.

"If you take that blip out right after Christmas, our goals against is just phenomenal," Babcock said. "But even with that bad stretch, things are going pretty good for us in a lot of ways."

Especially for Giguere, who recorded his 14th career shutout with a 1-0 victory at Minnesota on Saturday. Giguere, who had the third-longest shutout streak in NHL history this season, has tied Guy Herbert's franchise record for most shutouts in a season.


The Ducks, who will open a four-game homestand when they play the Wild today, do not expect to have injured forwards Mike Leclerc, Andy McDonald or Kevin Sawyer back in the lineup any time soon.

Leclerc, sidelined since Jan. 3 because of a knee injury, skated Sunday but will not play this week. McDonald, sidelined since Jan. 9 after suffering a concussion at Colorado, is getting better but Sawyer, out of the lineup since Dec. 19 because of a concussion, suffered a recent relapse and his return is still undetermined.



vs. Minnesota, 1 p.m., Fox Sports Net 2

Site -- Arrowhead Pond.

Radio -- KPLS (830).

Records -- Ducks 19-17-7-3, Wild 23-16-7-1.

Record vs. Wild -- 2-1-0-0.

Update -- Minnesota, third in the Northwest Division, has lost five of its last seven games. Forward Marian Gaborik leads the Wild with 25 goals and 49 points. Giguere owns two 1-0 victories over Minnesota this season.

Tickets -- (877) 945-3946

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