It takes a lot to build a successful homecoming. On and off the ice.
The Ducks helpfully complied at both ends of Jean-Sebastien Giguere’s return experience, honoring the former Anaheim goalie with a video tribute in the first period Saturday night.
Fans at Honda Center paid homage too, with standing ovations for the man who helped the Ducks win the Stanley Cup in 2007. The current Ducks didn’t do much to trouble Giguere, who was playing in Anaheim for the first time since he was traded in 2010. Giguere made 18 saves to lead the Avalanche to a 4-2 victory.
“I was pretty touched,” said Giguere, who also led the Ducks to the Stanley Cup finals in 2003. “I wasn’t necessarily expecting a bad reaction, but I’m glad people reacted that way. Obviously, I consider this place my second home — my kids were born here, so it means a lot to me when I come back here.”
Giguere, who is 4-2 in his last six starts with the Avalanche, was traded from the Ducks to Toronto on Jan. 31, 2010. The team was on a road trip in Tampa, so the parting wasn’t exactly ideal.
“I’ve never gotten a chance to say thanks to them [the fans], so, obviously, thank you guys,” he said, smiling.
He did so by raising his stick in acknowledgment to the fans when the tribute ended. He called the montage “classy.”
“I had more hair then,” Giguere said, chuckling about some of the old images.
Then the Avalanche went out and almost immediately scored. Milan Hejduk had the first of his two goals, putting Colorado up 1-0 at 6:35 of the first period.
But the far more damaging sequence of events came in the second period when the Avalanche scored on consecutive shifts — defenseman Kyle Quincey at 5:49 and Chuck Kobasew at 7:05.
With the Avalanche up, 3-0, Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau called a timeout to deliver some choice words.
“Again, it was looking like at that moment they felt defeated,” Boudreau said. “I said, ‘I’m tired of building you guys up. It’s about time you manned up and played the game — instead of feeling sorry for yourselves.’”
There’s been plenty of that in this season of playing strangely. The Ducks have recorded three wins in Boudreau’s 13-game tenure, and he has been trying everything to provide a jolt.
Against Colorado, he split up linemates Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Veteran center Saku Koivu returned from a lingering groin injury, and he assisted on the Ducks’ first goal, by defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky.
Bobby Ryan, who assisted on the first goal, scored his 13th of the season, pulling the Ducks to 4-2 at 12:38 of the third period. That was as close as they would get.
“I don’t know what kind of mind-set they were in before I got here, but they were down because of the position they were in,” Boudreau said. “I’m surprised it hasn’t turned around a little bit.
“There’s that hill that we can’t get over We play a great game in San Jose and you want to continue it. We fall back down and we can’t get over that rut right now.”
Turnarounds are possible. Just ask Giguere. Certainly, his career is on the upswing, again, in Colorado.
“Nothing beats that,” he said of the win. “It’s nice to come back somewhere you’ve played for many years, have good memories. You can’t help but be a little nervous. You want to have a good game, a good result.”