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Giguere, Ducks are rising high

Times Staff Writer

NASHVILLE -- Most of the Ducks’ goaltending records that Jean-Sebastien Giguere holds are of the playoff variety. The club’s career marks don’t approach his way very often.

Now the team’s longest-tenured player with six-plus years of service, Giguere was well aware that he needed one shutout to surpass Guy Hebert and he did what he could to get it Thursday night against the Nashville Predators.

Ultimately, Giguere’s shot at a bit of history was spoiled by Jason Arnott with 4 1/2 minutes left in the game, but it didn’t stop the Ducks from running their winning streak to five games with a 2-1 victory at Sommet Center.

Giguere tied Hebert’s mark of 27 shutouts last week against Toronto and he admitted that the record has been part of his thoughts.

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“I try not to,” Giguere said. “It’s always in the back of your mind, but I don’t play the game to get shutouts or stuff like that. I think a shutout is a team thing and a bonus at the end of the day. It’s far more important to focus on the win.”

The Ducks (26-17-6) have done plenty of that, having gone 11-2-2 to surge into first place in the Pacific Division and second in the Western Conference. Despite being outshot by the Predators, 34-16, the Ducks emerged victorious because of their battle-tested $6-million goaltender.

Giguere stopped 33 shots and is 8-1-1 in his last 10 starts.

“Jiggy gave us a chance and that’s all you can really ask of your goaltender,” Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle said. “He made some stops at some key times. Pretty solid for us.”

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The Ducks did the job defensively as they rallied around the loss of captain Chris Pronger, who was knocked out of the game in the first period with a knee bruise after being hit by a shot.

It helps to have a defense that still has Scott Niedermayer, Mathieu Schneider and Sean O’Donnell.

“I saw the puck pretty well tonight,” Giguere said. “Saying that, I thought that our guys did a great job of making sure that I would see the puck very well. They took away the traffic and the rebounds.

“It looked like the game was one-sided quite a bit, but it wasn’t that way.”

Giguere got additional support as Brandon Bochenski scored on a power play in the first period and Corey Perry scored in the third.

Bochenski got his second goal and fourth point in six games since coming to the Ducks from Boston on Jan. 2 as he deflected in a shot by Schneider from the point.

“It’s an opportunity for him,” Carlyle said of Bochenski. “That’s the way you have to look at it. He’s got to seize that opportunity.

“It’s not like we’re giving him a chance to play limited minutes. We’re giving him power-play time, we’re giving him Doug Weight and Chris Kunitz, who are offensive players. He’s got to grab that opportunity and run with it.”

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After being a healthy scratch often with the Bruins, Bochenski is happy to be on the ice.

“Definitely, it’s nice to get to play,” he said. “In Boston, I was out of the lineup. It was frustrating. Here, they’re showing faith in me. I’ve got to prove them right.”

Perry made it 2-0 when he picked up a pass from Ryan Getzlaf and got past a diving defenseman Ville Koistinen before beating goalie Chris Mason.

Perry went to his backhand to fake Mason before reaching back with his right hand to slip the puck in.

Getzlaf assisted on both goals and has the NHL’s longest current point streak at 12 games. The last Ducks player to have a streak that long was Paul Kariya in 1997.

“I think what we can get out of this game is that we found a way to win,” Giguere said. “Good teams tend to do that. Obviously it wasn’t our best game. Things didn’t seem to go our way.

“At the end of the day, all that matters is the two points.”

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TONIGHT

at Minnesota, 5 PST, FSN West

Site -- Xcel Energy Center.

Radio -- 830.

Records -- Ducks 26-17-6, Wild 26-17-3.

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

Update -- Minnesota fans have eagerly awaited the first appearance of the defending Stanley Cup champions since the Ducks eliminated the Wild in a tense five-game opening-round series.

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eric.stephens@latimes.com


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