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Giguere's Miscue Costs Ducks

Hockey: Goalie's turnover leads directly to a short-handed goal by the Oilers and sends Anaheim to a 3-1 loss.

January 19, 2002|CHRIS FOSTER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

EDMONTON, Canada — Say this for the Mighty Ducks, they certainly know how to lose a game creatively. And that takes some doing when you lose so often.

Goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who has played so well and received so little in return, stepped front and center Friday in a 3-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers before 16,558 at the Skyreach Center.

Giguere went behind the net to retrieve the puck with the score tied and the Ducks on the power play. By the time he got back to the goalie crease, the Ducks were down a goal.

Rem Murray picked Giguere's pocket and centered to Ryan Smith in the slot. Smith had time to hand-deliver the puck into the net. It gave the Oilers a 2-1 lead with five minutes left in the third period against a Duck team that struggles nightly to score more than two goals.

"We find a way each night to give up a goal," Coach Bryan Murray said. "Either there's a misread or a mishandle or whatever and that's been the deciding goal so many nights."

This, though, was the first time you could hang a loss on a Duck goalie.

Giguere has been solid all season and brilliant in the last two months. He has a 1.71 goals-against average and .935 save percentage since Dec. 1. He has a 5-9-3 record in that time.

Every time he left the net Friday it was an adventure.

Defenseman Pavel Trnka saved him midway through the second period after Giguere came out to handle the puck, then turned it over. Josh Green wound up and fired a shot, but Trnka got back to block it.

No one could bail out Giguere later in the period, when Murray rushed behind the net and hit his stick, knocking the puck away.

"I was probably trying to do a little too much," Giguere said. "I was trying to make a direct pass, I just got to do that a little more assertive. He hit my stick, took the puck and that was the story of the game there."

There was a definite been-there, lost-that feeling for the Ducks.

They got 37 shots, but one goal. And that came when Patric Kjellberg swung and missed at an Andy McDonald centering pass near the net only to have the puck go off his skate and into the net.

They worked hard, getting one quality chance after another. McDonald had five chances in the second period alone, all golden.

They were again within a goal in the third period, trailing, 2-1, before Mike Comrie had a puck go off his skate and into the net midway through the third period.

The Ducks have been within a goal or tied in the third period in all but four games this season.

But Oiler goalie Tommy Salo was unbeatable, stopping every great chance the Ducks had and probably would have stopped Kjellberg if Kjellberg had actually hit the puck with his stick.

"Everyone kind of laughs at the 'Lame Ducks' whatever it may be," Murray said. "This is the way we play. It's just unfortunate we haven't been able to find a way to score a few goals and get respect. Certainly our effort is respectful every night.

"It's the same game every night and it's the same effort."

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