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Giguere Isn't Broken Up After Fluke Bounces

Duck goaltender says Devils created their own luck to help account for two odd goals.

June 06, 2003|Elliott Teaford | Times Staff Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Jean-Sebastien Giguere's night was one of those Friday-the-13th, black-cat, broken-mirror, walk-under-the-ladder, step-on-a-crack and break-your-mother's-back kind of deals.

All that was missing was a full moon hanging over Continental Airlines Arena for what turned to be a nightmarish Thursday the 5th for the Mighty Duck goaltender, whose team's hopes for its first series lead in the Stanley Cup finals ended because of porous defense and funky bounces.

"Stuff happens," Giguere said with a smile that was more of a grimace after the Ducks' 6-3 loss in Game 5 left them with a three-games-to-two deficit in the best-of-seven series.

New Jersey's first two goals went past Giguere from the back goalpost, with Devil forwards Pascal Rheaume and Patrik Elias left unmarked to score easy tap-ins.

"There's no question we left guys open way too much and gave them easy goals," center Steve Rucchin said. "It wasn't in the sense that they weren't creating anything, but there were too many backdoor tap-ins and J.S. isn't going to stop those."

With New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur fighting the puck at the other end of the ice, the teams ended the first period tied at 2-2.

Then matters took a bewildering turn to start the second period, with pucks bouncing crazily off sticks, skates and end boards -- and into Giguere's net.

First, New Jersey's Brian Gionta was credited with a goal that went off defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh's stick, popped into the air near the right post and off the stick of another Duck, winger Mike Leclerc, and fell into the net for a 3-2 Devil lead.

Later, Gionta's quick shot from the right wing kicked off Giguere's pad and toward Jay Pandolfo, who wasn't tied up as well as he could have been by defenseman Kurt Sauer. The puck struck Pandolfo's right skate as he made a textbook hockey stop and squeezed past a startled Giguere for a 4-3 Devil lead.

After a review of the play, NHL director of officiating Andy Van Hellemond ruled Pandolfo did not deliberately kick the puck into the net, but inadvertently steered the puck toward Giguere, which is not against the rules.

In the third period, Jamie Langenbrunner scored from the slot off a blocked shot from the wing that took a wicked hop off the end boards, eluding Giguere as it landed on Langenbrunner's stick. Giguere had no opportunity to set himself before Langenbrunner whistled the first of two third-period goals past him.

"You create your bounces," Giguere said. "These guys worked really hard tonight. They threw a lot of pucks at the net and had traffic in front of the net and the pucks bounced their way. We need to work harder. As far as a goalie is concerned, you create your own luck. I just need to create my own luck in the next game."

The Ducks refused to blame Giguere for their third consecutive three-goal road loss in the finals. They lost Games 1 and 2 by matching 3-0 scores.

"It's tough to say whether Jiggy played good or bad on a night like this," winger Dan Bylsma said. "J.S. has been an outstanding goaltender for us. You're not perfect every night, but he's the man we're going to turn to. What happened tonight, that's as much the [fault of the] five guys in front of him as it is J.S."

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