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Mighty Ducks tame Wild

Posted: Sunday, May 11, 2003

ST. PAUL, Minn. The Anaheim Mighty Ducks had the Minnesota Wild just where they wanted them in overtime, with an unbeatable goalie.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere continued his postseason brilliance with 39 saves, and Petr Sykora scored 8:06 into the second extra session as the Mighty Ducks beat the Wild 1-0 in the opener of the Western Conference finals.

Once again, Jiggy kept us in the game,'' said Sykora, who also scored in the fifth overtime of the second-round series opener against Dallas.

Giguere stretched his playoff overtime shutout streak to 160 minutes, 49 seconds the second-longest run behind Patrick Roy's 162:56 in 1996-97.

I wouldn't say I have tons of experience, but now I know I can do it,'' said Giguere, a postseason newcomer just like No. 6 seed Minnesota.

The seventh-seeded Mighty Ducks improved to 5-0 in overtime in these playoffs and 9-1 in one-goal games. Anaheim, which dropped No. 1 Dallas and No. 2 Detroit en route to the conference finals, is also 5-1 on the road.

The Mighty Ducks, outshot 39-26, couldn't muster much of an attack for most of the afternoon. Sykora's goal was their first shot of the second overtime.

With so few scoring chances, it figured that the only goal of the game would come off a turnover.

We made one mistake,'' Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said.

Filip Kuba lost the puck in the neutral zone and nobody backed him up. Anaheim's Mike Leclerc picked up the puck and started a 2-on-1 with Sykora against Lubomir Sekeras.

Sekeras committed to Leclerc along the boards, leaving Sykora wide open for the feed in the slot.

I don't think he saw me,'' said Sykora, who beat Manny Fernandez high as Minnesota fell to 2-5 at home in the playoffs.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Monday night in St. Paul.

They got the bounce today, and hopefully we'll get it next time,'' Wild left wing Antti Laaksonen said.

The Wild, who entered with the best power play in the postseason, went 0-for-5. The Ducks had only one chance with an extra skater.

Your penalty kill is everything,'' Anaheim coach Mike Babcock said. In reality, our special teams won us the game by giving us the opportunity to get there.''

That and Giguere, of course, because Fernandez was almost as good for Minnesota.

Dwayne Roloson was in goal for the last three games of the previous round against Vancouver all Wild wins. But Fernandez, 3-3 in the postseason, was chosen to begin this series.

Manny has been good for us all year,'' left wing Pascal Dupuis said.

Though nobody admitted fatigue, the Wild were most certainly tired having played Game 6 against the Canucks at home on Wednesday and then the seventh game in Vancouver on Thursday.

It was Anaheim, however, complaining of a lack of energy especially early on.

The Mighty Ducks needed only 10 games to dispose of the conference's top two finishers after a strong second half of the regular season. They'd been waiting since Monday to find out where they'd be traveling.

I don't think we had the kind of zip we normally have,'' Babcock said.

The first 80 minutes of the game, in fact, were lacking zip.

The Mighty Ducks and Wild split four games during the regular season, but Anaheim scored only four goals and Minnesota had six.

Senators 3, Devils 2, OT

OTTAWA Shaun Van Allen tipped Martin Havlat's pass into a wide-open net 3:08 into overtime, lifting Ottawa to an Eastern Conference finals opening victory over the New Jersey Devils.

The Senators won despite squandering an early 2-0 lead. The Presidents' Trophy winners haven't lost a playoff game this year in which they've scored. Ottawa was shut out once by the New York Islanders and twice by Philadelphia in the first two rounds.

It was Van Allen's first playoff goal in 55 career games.

Chris Neil and Todd White also scored for the Senators, making their first third-round appearance in their 11-year history. Patrick Lalime finished with 32 saves, and set a playoff record with his 11th straight game of allowing two goals or fewer.

Joe Nieuwendyk and Jay Pandolfo scored for the Devils, and Martin Brodeur made 27 saves. New Jersey is in the Eastern Conference finals for the third time in four years.



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