Record-setting goalie Giguere thinks he can still play betterPosted: Friday April 11, 2003 6:39 PM
That's saying a lot, given what the Anaheim goaltender did during the Mighty Ducks' 2-1 win in three overtimes Thursday night against the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Giguere made 63 saves -- an NHL record for a first postseason game -- and faced 20 shots in the first overtime, more than any goaltender has faced in an extra playoff period since the league expanded for the 1967-68 season.
"I want to say I can be better, but I don't want to be cocky by saying that," Giguere said. "I just know it's going to get harder and harder and we're all going to have to bring our game up."
The 25-year-old Giguere even said he might not have played his best game.
"There's a lot of games I'm proud about, when I was a kid," Giguere said. "Obviously, in the NHL it's different because it's the best players in the world. But to say it was the best game in my life, maybe not.
"I'm sure I've had games in the past when I was a little bit better."
The Red Wings are used to trailing early in the best-of-seven first-round series, like they will be for Saturday's home game.
When Detroit won the Cup in 1997, it lost the first game of the playoffs to St. Louis. When the Red Wings repeated the next season, Phoenix led them 2-1 in the first round.
Before winning a 10th Stanley Cup last June, the Red Wings were booed off the ice after Vancouver won the first two games in the first round.
"Obviously, we're not starting the playoffs well -- like last year," said Detroit's Sergei Fedorov, who had three first-period shots Thursday and none over the next five.
Red Wings coach Dave Lewis said the experience of coming back against Vancouver last year will not necessarily help against the Mighty Ducks.
"I don't know if it makes any difference," Lewis said. "I just think that with the experience in the room that it will be a different game, a different focus. We'll just try to shake this one off as soon as we can and get ready for the next one.
"It's just part of the playoffs. It's a disappointing loss, but Saturday's outcome is not dictated by (Thursday's) outcome. We knew they depended heavily on their goaltender, and that's what they did."
The Mighty Ducks weren't shocked by Giguere's performance.
"That's the way he's played all season for us," Keith Carney said. "He's just our backbone back there."
Giguere set franchise records with 34 wins and eight shutouts -- including three straight in December -- and lost just eight of his last 30 games.
Anaheim coach Mike Babcock is used to watching Giguere make improbable saves with his glove, pads and skates because he coached him at the beginning of last season at Cincinnati in the American Hockey League.
Babcock believes Giguere's debut was so successful because of the goaltender's ability to block out the fact that Detroit has won three of the last six Stanley Cups and has as many as nine possible future Hall of Famers.
"Sometimes we try to make things into things they're not," Babcock said. "It's still just a hockey game, and our goaltender realizes this is the same game he's been playing his whole life. We have to realize they're just like us, and he does."