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NHL

Red Wings never solved goalie

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 18, 2003

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- One name kept popping up in both the Anaheim and Detroit locker rooms: Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

Giguere, in his first playoffs, stopped 32 shots Wednesday as the Mighty Ducks beat the Red Wings 3-2 on Steve Rucchin's goal 6:53 into overtime.

The Ducks, swept by Detroit in their only two previous years in the postseason, swept the defending Stanley Cup champions in their West quarterfinal series.

Anaheim's only previous postseason series victory was in 1997, when it beat Phoenix in seven games.

"If you would have asked me at the beginning of the series about a sweep, I would have said, 'No,"' said Giguere, who faced 171 shots and stopped 165 for a 1.24 goals-against average.

He was the key for Anaheim, which won all four games by one goal.

The Red Wings won the Stanley Cup three of the past six seasons, and Rucchin said they played like champions again.

"Let's be honest. If it wasn't for J.S. Giguere, we wouldn't be in this situation," Rucchin said. "It's tough for us to take credit when they were so dominant at times in this series and just threw everything they had at him. And he just shut them down."

Mathieu Schneider and his Detroit teammates seemed mostly stunned that they went four and out.

"Obviously, it's a big upset. When you look back, I don't think it's any secret that it was one guy that won the series for them. And he was between the pipes," Schneider said. "He was great, and he was lucky. That's playoff hockey.

"We had to find a way to beat him, but we didn't. And it cost us in a large way."

With new coach Dave Lewis, a former assistant, and new goalie Curtis Joseph, the Red Wings became only the second defending Stanley Cup champion to be swept the next season in a four-game opening series.

In 1952, Detroit upset the 1951 champion Maple Leafs and went on to win the Cup.

"We just did not get it done, not one game," Lewis said.

"One guy (Giguere) did not beat us. He was the difference, but their team beat us."

Jason Krog scored with 15:25 left in the third to give the Ducks the lead before Sergei Fedorov's goal, a centering pass that deflected off defenseman Niclas Havelid and into the net, tied it with 2:15 left.

Rucchin scored his first goal of the series with a one-timer from 10 feet after defenseman Keith Carney centered the puck from behind the net.

"The hockey gods reward the hardest workers," Anaheim coach Mike Babcock said. "And Rucchin worked the hardest this series. And he deserved the goal."

Defensive unit key, Caps coach says

Before Game 3, Lightning coach John Tortorella put Martin St. Louis, Vinny Lecavalier and Vinny Prospal on a line. After getting seven points in that game, they burned the Capitals' top defensive unit, forwards Jeff Halpern, Steve Konowalchuk and Mike Grier and defensemen Calle Johansson and Brendan Witt, for two even-strength goals in Game 4.

Washington coach Bruce Cassidy said he had hoped they would rebound and will continue using them against Lecavalier's line.

"We thought (Game 3) was an aberration with our guys," he said. "Halpern's line has been tough to play against all year, and so have Calle and (Witt). We wanted to give them that assignment. They're a shutdown line.

"And this is the time of year you can make a name for yourself in that regard. And I hope they're up to the challenge."

SENATORS: The team arranged for another $3.9-million in bankruptcy financing to cover playoff costs, and the club's court-appointed monitor said the franchise might be sold by the end of the month. Judge James Chadwick also extended the team's protection from creditors through June 2.

TELEVISION: Chris Berman will replace Al Michaels as co-host during the Stanley Cup final on ESPN and ABC.

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