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Stanley Cup Finals Notebook

Giguere disagrees that he was in a zone in earlier rounds

Posted: Friday May 30, 2003 7:56 PM

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- In just two Stanley Cup finals games, the Mighty Ducks' Jean-Sebastien Giguere has gone from the Conn Smythe favorite to just another goaltender desperately trying to win a game.

After allowing only one goal in the four-game Western Conference finals against Minnesota, Giguere has given up five in two games against the Devils.

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As a result, the logical assumption is the uncommonly long 10-day layoff Anaheim had between the conference and Stanley Cup finals caused Giguere to lose his edge. He said Friday that's not true.

"I felt well and I still feel well," he said.

So what it is? Did he somehow leave that mythical zone athletes talk about when they peak over a long stretch?

"There's no such thing as being in a zone," he said. "It's something you work for your entire life. ... Being in a zone would almost mean being lucky or not being in the right place. I feel comfortable playing in the playoffs."

No concedin' for Friesen

Devils forward Jeff Friesen, the scoring star of the finals so far with three goals in two games, probably didn't like some newspaper headlines Friday that suggested the series is over.

With the Devils going on the road, to an arena where the Mighty Ducks have had considerable success in the playoffs, Friesen said it would be foolish to lose focus.

"It's just two wins and it takes four to win," Friesen said. "They only get tougher as you go. We need to get even better."

Really? Can the Devils even hope to exceed their level of play in their two home shutout wins?

"We have played well defensively and [goaltender] Marty [Brodeur] has played great," Friesen said. "Now we go to their building and we have to come up with a better game."

Ducks evasive about possible matchups

The Mighty Ducks were evasive Friday when asked if they might use the home-ice advantage to create some better matchups.

For much of the first two games, the Devils' top defensive pair of Scott Stevens and Brian Rafalski, plus forward John Madden, was on the ice against Paul Kariya's line.

"At home, with the last [line] change, hopefully we will get better opportunities," Kariya said.

Coach Mike Babcock said matchups weren't the problem, but rather how the Ducks responded to them.

"Actually, I think the matchups have been just fine," he said. "The thing about the playoffs is sometimes you've got to beat their players."

Everything's ducks for now

Tickets for the Ducks' home games at the Arrowhead Pond sold out in mere minutes, and Paul Kariya said Friday he expects the crowd for Game 3 on Saturday to be the loudest he's heard in his career.

It wasn't always that way, even a few months ago.

The Mighty Ducks were a big draw in their first four or five seasons in Orange County but, before their second-half surge earlier this season, they weren't a hot ticket.

Nearly a quarter of their home games at the 17,174-seat arena drew crowds of 12,000 or fewer. One night, first-year coach Mike Babcock complained the half-empty arena looked like "a maroon seat convention."

Kariya hopes the Ducks' playoff run boosts ticket sales for next season.

"My first four years here, you couldn't buy a ticket," he said. "I would like to see that back here."

Uhh, it's Martin Brodeur, right?

The Devils' Martin Brodeur is the first goalie in more than a half-century to get shutouts in the first two games of the finals.

Given how little he's been pressured -- he has faced only 32 shots -- Anaheim's Paul Kariya was asked if the shutouts were the result of Brodeur's strong play or the Ducks' ineffectiveness.

"We haven't seen him much because we haven't had many shots," Kariya said. "When we have gotten some shots against him, he's been there to make the saves."

Notes

Only three of the 40 teams that trailed 2-0 in the Stanley Cup finals rallied to win the series: the 1971 Canadiens (against Chicago) and the 1966 Canadiens and the 1942 Maple Leafs (both against Detroit). ... New Jersey has won eight consecutive playoff series it led 2-0. ... Anaheim is 6-1 at home in the playoffs. New Jersey is 4-4 on the road, but won its biggest road game, beating Ottawa in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals May 23. ... Devils forward Joe Nieuwendyk won't play in Game 3. He has yet to play in the series because of a hip injury. ... Because he's a finalist for the Vezina Trophy (best goaltender) and Hart Trophy (MVP), Brodeur is guaranteed at least $500,0000 in bonuses and could make as much as $900,000. ... The Devils, who routinely practice at 4 p.m. at home, stayed with that routine Friday even while switching to West Coast time.


 
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