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Giguere is not Wild about effort

Times Staff Writer

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Moments after the third Minnesota Wild goal hit the net, Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere slammed his stick behind the bench and followed that with a demonstrative heave of his catching glove, or trapper, as it’s officially called.

On a bitter-cold Wednesday night outside Xcel Energy Center, Giguere was plenty hot inside.

All the veteran could do was simmer on the side and contemplate another abbreviated start as three consecutive Wild goals in less than two minutes of the second period turned a scoreless game into an eventual 5-1 victory.

If this was their meaning of starting the stretch run on the right foot, the Ducks (27-21-6) might want to try the other appendage. Time off for the All-Star weekend and the news of old friend Teemu Selanne rejoining them did nothing to start their engines.

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Six days removed from a listless loss to the Kings, the Ducks’ fourth consecutive defeat had the same script, with Giguere removed by Coach Randy Carlyle in the second period after surrendering three goals. This time it was Brian Rolston, Marian Gaborik and Mikko Koivu scoring in a span of 1 minute 56 seconds.

“I probably would have done the same thing,” Giguere said. “I’m not mad at Randy for pulling me. I’m mad at the situation. I’m mad because we’ve lost four in a row.

“It starts with me. I’ve got to do a better job and make sure I give my team a chance to win.”

In all, Giguere gave up the three goals in four shots. Rolston’s slap shot from behind the right circle seemed to fool Giguere as it nicked Francois Beauchemin’s stick and sailed over the goalie’s right shoulder.

The defense didn’t help him, either, as breakdowns led to the goals by Gaborik and Koivu. And Giguere wasn’t exactly bailed out by Carlyle afterward.

“One slap shot went in the middle of the net,” Carlyle said. “The other went through him. And then the other goal was a bang-bang play from the corner.

“You can’t totally fault your goaltender on those plays. We should have better coverage on the cross-ice pass to Koivu. And then I think the slap shot is a stoppable puck. Gaborik’s two on one went through him, but it was still a two on one. We gave up a two on one where a defenseman [Mathieu Schneider] pinched and our forward charged the puck down the wall.

“Pretty basic. You don’t do those types of things. You have to play a tight hockey game.”

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Giguere has given up six goals in 29 shots over his last two starts. Asked whether he’s concerned about the goalie’s recent stretch, Carlyle said, “Coaches are always concerned.”

After playing in his first All-Star game Sunday, Corey Perry scored his team-leading 27th goal to cut the lead to 3-1 but that was all from the Ducks. Pierre-Marc Bouchard and James Sheppard tacked on goals for a little icing by the Wild.

“When you’re playing well, you make it look easy,” Ducks captain Chris Pronger said. “And when you’re not playing to the best of your abilities or capabilities, the game looks very hard.”

And now this eight-game trip for the Ducks has suddenly taken on a make-or-break feel as Calgary, Vancouver, Phoenix, Colorado and Columbus are within striking range of the Ducks in the Western Conference.

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The Ducks will visit the White House on Wednesday to meet President Bush in honor of their Stanley Cup championship. . . . As expected, Selanne did not play but took part in the morning skate. Center Brian Sutherby and defenseman Joe DiPenta were healthy scratches.

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eric.stephens@latimes.com


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