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Friday, May 16

Updated: May 21, 2:12 PM ET

Nothing at all typical about Giguere

Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Jiggy is a rather odd duck, a goaltender who doesn't seem the least bit weird.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere
Jean-Sebastien Giguere has three straight shutouts for the Ducks.

"I think I'm pretty much just a normal guy,'' said Jean-Sebastien Giguere, the Mighty Ducks' goalie who keeps posting goose eggs on the other side of the scoreboard.

Considering goaltenders think other guys are out to get them -- which they are -- and that they constantly have hard rubber disks sailing 100 mph and plunking off their bodies, maybe goalies have a right to be different.

But the 25-year-old Giguere is just one of the guys, chuckling like a gleeful kid as he and his teammates kick a soccer ball in the hall outside their locker room.

Steve Thomas, who's been around a lot of goaltenders during his 15 years in the league, said it's difficult to pick Giguere out of a crowd.

"There are a lot of goalies I've played with who are eccentric people, and he's definitely one of the guys in the room, just like everyone else,'' Thomas said. "Nine times out of 10 you go in a locker room and talk to a certain guy, and you can go, 'Oh, that's the goalie right there.'

"But with Jiggy, he thinks he's a power forward or something. He's certainly not like a prototypical goalie.''

His beard growing more scraggly as the Ducks go deeper into the postseason, Giguere has been the hottest thing on ice during this year's playoffs, his first.

Giguere (pronounced zhee-gair) takes a three-game shutout streak into Friday night's game against Minnesota. A win by the Ducks, who swept defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit in the first round and eliminated top-seeded Dallas 4-2 in the second, will send Anaheim to its first Cup finals.

As a kid growing up in Montreal, Giguere pretended he was Patrick Roy, and he has been playing like his idol. He's 11-2 with four shutouts in the playoffs, has a 1.24 goals-against average, and has stopped all 98 Minnesota shots in the conference finals. His save percentage is a phenomenal .960.

He hasn't allowed a goal in 213 minutes, 17 seconds, going back to the third period of the Ducks' Game 6 victory over Dallas. The playoff record, including games before the NHL's modern era, is 270:08 by Montreal's George Hainsworth in 1930.

By blanking Minnesota in Anaheim's 4-0 Game 3 victory, Giguere became only the sixth goalie in NHL history to record three consecutive shutouts in the playoffs; the first to have three in a row to start a series since Toronto's Frank McCool in 1945; and the first to post three zeros in a row in a Stanley Cup semifinal series.

Another streak Giguere has going is a 160:49 scoreless string in overtime in the playoffs, second in league history only to Roy's 162:56.

Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said nothing his team has tried has worked against Giguere.

"We tried to move the puck across, and he still made saves on it. We tried in the other games to shoot more. He still made saves,'' Lemaire said.

The Anaheim goalie's talent was obvious on a save early in Game 3 against the Wild, when he deftly dropped to his knees at the last instant to block a shot by the playoffs' top scorer, Marian Gaborik, on an uncontested breakaway.

"That's a phenomenal save,'' Ducks coach Mike Babcock said.

While he also considers Giguere a "normal guy,'' Babcock said the goalie can be very intense.

"He has a great ability to read the game, but what makes him what he is his competitiveness, his battle level, his soul,'' the coach said. "He's demanding of his teammates by being demanding of himself.''
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