ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Ticker) -- The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim opened their third straight playoff series on the road. Once they got past the first overtime, they were right at home.
Petr Sykora scored 8:06 into the second extra period as the Ducks started another playoff series with a multi-overtime victory, blanking the Minnesota Wild, 1-0, in the opener of the Western Conference finals.
Minnesota defenseman Filip Kuba tried unsuccessfully to keep the puck in the Anaheim zone and was trapped at the blue line, enabling the Ducks to break out 2-on-1. Mike Leclerc carried down the left side and slid a pass into the slot for a charging Sykora, who deked to his backhand and lifted a shot under the crossbar for his second playoff goal.
"Mike made a beautiful play on the wall. We went 2-on-1," Sykora said. "I was kind of surprised, but I was just hoping to get the puck through. Mike again made another really good play and it was a 1-on-1. I tried my move, and it worked."
Sykora's other postseason tally came 48 seconds into the fifth overtime and gave Anaheim a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars in Game One of the conference semifinals. The Ducks began their first-round series with a 2-1 triumph over the Detroit Red Wings on Paul Kariya's triple-overtime goal.
But first-year Anaheim coach Mike Babcock did not see many similarities to those earlier wins.
"Not really," he said. "The length maybe, but not the play. I don't think we had our 'A' game tonight. But we seemed to get better as the game went on."
All nine of Anaheim's postseason victories have been by one goal. This one shifted home-ice advantage in an unlikely matchup of the sixth and seventh seeds in the West.
Another constant for the Ducks has been goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, whose postseason overtime shutout streak of 159 minutes, 5 seconds is the second-longest in NHL history.
Giguere would not have gotten a chance to extend that streak without a spectacular save on Marian Gaborik - who leads the NHL with nine goals - during a power play with 8:52 left in the second period.
Gaborik seemed to have an open net in which to deposit a shot after getting a backhanded pass from Andrew Brunette. But Giguere lunged right and managed to get the paddle of his stick on the puck, keeping the game scoreless.
"Well, sometimes you've got to make the best of the moves and make some saves," Giguere said. "I saw the puck slowly going in and I just put my stick out to make that save. I was pretty lucky on that one."
"There were a lot of open mouths on the bench," Wild center Wes Walz admitted. "When I saw Marian get it on his backhand and I saw where the goalie was, I felt for sure it was going in."
It was one of 39 stops for Giguere, who recorded his second playoff shutout and helped Anaheim win a game in which it was outplayed for most of the first four periods.
"Obviously, the Game One in Detroit, that was a new experience for me," Giguere said. "I wouldn't say that I have tons of experience, but now I know I can do it. What I have to do is make one save at a time. I don't play the score, I don't play the time left or anything like that."
Playing less than 48 hours after winning Game Seven of its conference semifinal series, Minnesota appeared the more tired team in the second overtime.
"I don't think it affected us in the first (overtime). The second overtime was a little bit slower by both teams, but the first overtime, we created a lot of chances. We should have scored on one of them," Wild center Sergei Zholtok said. "We were coming at them in waves. Every line was creating some opportunities to score."
No one had more chances than Zholtok, who put a deflection off the right goalpost during a power play six minutes into the game and was denied midway through the opening period after breaking down the slot.
"He played an awesome game, but he's human," Zholtok said. "We've got to find a way to get it by him."
Held to 13 shots over the first two periods, Anaheim nearly broke through early in the third. But Steve Thomas' blast from the top of the right faceoff circle tipped off goalie Manny Fernandez's glove and glanced off the top of the right goalpost. Fernandez made 25 saves in place of Dwayne Roloson, who won the final three games of the conference semifinals but was nursing a knee injury.
"Rollie was a little injured from the last series. And with only one day in between games, I didn't want him to re-aggravate his injury," Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said. "As it turned out, Manny played a very good game tonight."
Lemaire's team entered with the top power play in the postseason but was 0-for-5 and failed to get a shot after Ducks defenseman Ruslan Salei was penalized for interference 15:18 into overtime.
"We know we were up against the best power-play team this postseason," Anaheim defenseman Keith Carney said. "You have to have great goaltending to have a great penalty kill."
Game Two is Monday in Minnesota.
"The guys will bounce back," Lemaire said. "We played real hard and had a good number of scoring chances, both in regulation and in overtime. But their goalie played very well and kept them in the game."