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Monday, June 9

Updated: June 10, 8:51 AM ET

Conn Smythe trophy can't slow Jiggy's tears

Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jean-Sebastien Giguere carted off a hefty silver trophy after Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. Just not the one he wanted.

The New Jersey Devils won their third Stanley Cup on Monday night, defeating the Anaheim Mighty Ducks 3-0.

Giguere's consolation prize was the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP.

"I would give that one up to get the other one. The other one is much nicer and much bigger,'' he said. "My thought goes to all my teammates. They worked so hard in front of me and I couldn't do anything without them. This is something we'll hopefully share as a team.''

The announcement by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman drew hearty boos from the partisan fans at Continental Airlines Arena.

"I'm not surprised they booed me,'' Giguere said. "In New Jersey, they probably wanted their guy winning it and this is very understandable.''

"Jiggy'' never smiled as he accepted the trophy and immediately skated off the ice with it as the Devils applauded.

"That was very nice of them,'' he said.

As the Devils mobbed each other in victory, tears rolled down Giguere's face. Teammate Niclas Havelid was the first player to console him as Giguere rested his left arm on the net.

"I'm pretty sad,'' he said. "My main reason to win the Stanley Cup was for my mom. She's been watching every game at home. She lives for that, and she's not doing too well right now.''

Giguere's mother is ill, but he has not disclosed details.

At the final horn, he took off his helmet and it fell to the ice. Soon, the rest of the Ducks skated up and patted Giguere on the head. He used his jersey to wipe away more tears.

"I don't think there was any question that he was the single person that did the most for his team,'' Ducks general manager Bryan Murray said.

Giguere was the main reason the Mighty Ducks stunned the defending champion Detroit Red Wings in the opening round, then beat Dallas and won the Western Conference title over Minnesota to reach their first finals.

"He was a real rock for us,'' Ducks captain Paul Kariya said.

Anaheim was shut out for the third time in the series.

The Devils had just seven shots in the scoreless first period, but they kept the puck in Anaheim's zone. Their work paid off 2:22 into the second when Mike Rupp's shot squirted through Giguere's pads.

Jeff Friesen scored his first goal midway through the second on a rebound that Giguere didn't have much chance to stop. His second goal made it 3-0 in the third.

New Jersey fans taunted Giguere with chants of ``Marty's better'' in the third period. Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur made 24 saves; Giguere stopped 22 shots.

"They wouldn't give us an inch,'' said right wing Steve Thomas, who joined the Ducks in March and at 39 doesn't figure to have many more chances at winning the Cup.

Neither does 40-year-old Adam Oates.

"At our age, how many times do you get a chance to do this?'' Thomas said. "You work your whole life to get this opportunity and when it doesn't happen, it's really tough to swallow.''

Few gave the Ducks, who had never advanced beyond the second round of the playoffs before this year, a chance to reach the Stanley Cup finals.

"Next year, the other team is not going to take us lightly anymore,'' Giguere said. "This is a good thing for the organization. We made a big step forward. We're still not where we wanted to be, but it takes a winner and a loser, and the next time it's going to be us.''

Much of their success was because of Giguere, whose poise belied that he was making his playoff debut. He came within one game of becoming the first goalie since Patrick Roy in 1986 to win the Cup in his first playoff appearance.

"The reason he's such a surprise is because our games must be on too late in the East,'' Ducks coach Mike Babcock said. "Because anybody who has been watching him for two years knows how good he is.''

Giguere was the fifth player from a losing team to be selected MVP, joining Roger Crozier of Detroit in 1966, Glenn Hall of St. Louis in 1968, Reggie Leach of Philadelphia in 1976 and Ron Hextall of Philadelphia in 1987. Leach is the only non-goaltender in the group.
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