ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) -- For a very brief moment, Jean-Sebastien Giguere showed he's human.
Giguere became the first goaltender in 58 years to start a playoff series with three shutouts, backstopping the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim to a 4-0 blanking of the Minnesota Wild that moved them within one win of their first Stanley Cup Finals berth.
Giguere stopped 35 shots and extended his shutout streak to 213 minutes, 17 seconds as the Ducks grabbed a three games to none lead in the Western Conference finals.
"I don't go out there to make a shutout. I go out there to make one save at a time and keep it simple," Giguere said. "Good things happen when you do that. I don't worry about the final result."
Six goalies have recorded three straight playoff shutouts, but Toronto's Frank McCool was the only one to get them at the start of a series, doing it against Detroit in the 1945 Stanley Cup Finals.
"It's a little bit surreal," Giguere confessed.
Ironically, the Wild might draw inspiration from that series since the Red Wings rallied for three wins before falling to the Maple Leafs in Game Seven. Just two teams in NHL history have won series after trailing three games to none, although Minnesota this year became the first to come back from 3-1 deficits twice in the same postseason.
"We'll regroup and get excited about it," Wild left wing Andrew Brunette said. "We've got to worry about one game. Getting a goal would have helped, but it didn't happen that way."
Game Four is Friday at Anaheim, where the Ducks will try to become the first time in 11 years to complete a sweep in the conference finals.
"We don't get too far ahead of ourselves," Anaheim captain Paul Kariya said. "We're focusing on our next game. I think that's been a great asset for our team this year, to take everything one game at a time and really not look too far ahead."
The Wild's most immediate task is getting the puck past Giguere, who has stopped all 98 shots in the series.
"You think about how you're going to beat him and your hands get a little bit tighter and you maybe squeeze your stick a little bit harder," Wild sniper Marian Gaborik said. "You can't think about it, just close your eyes and try to shoot."
Kariya came to life with two goals and Steve Rucchin and rookie Stanislav Chistov also scored in a rare postseason laugher for Anaheim. Of the Ducks' previous 10 playoff wins, nine were by a single goal. Their streak of one-goal victories ended with a 2-0 triumph in Game Two.
Scoreless since the third period of Game Seven of the conference semifinals at Vancouver, Minnesota had chances early to end its drought.
Rookie Pierre-Marc Bouchard chipped the puck away from defenseman Ruslan Salei and cut across the crease before sending a backhander just wide of the right goalpost with 16:46 to go in the opening period.
Three minutes later, Gaborik broke in alone and wristed a shot that Giguere sticked away.
"Gaborik walked home-free from their blue line, so that's time and space like no one's gotten in the playoffs against him," Anaheim coach Mike Babcock said. "And you got time to make a decision and a play. That's a phenomenal save."
By then, the Wild already were trailing.
With 15:01 to go in the first period, Mike Leclerc wristed a shot from the right faceoff dot that struck goalie Dwayne Roloson in the chest and bounced into the air. Rucchin outmuscled defenseman Filip Kuba in front of the net and whacked the puck past Roloson just before it hit the ice.
Anaheim broke open the game with three goals in a 5 1/2-minute stretch of the second period.
Samuel Pahlsson beat Roloson from the blue line less than a minute later, but the goal was nullified by an offside call. That did not deter the Ducks, who made it 3-0 at 12:16 as Chistov got a rebound and tucked it around the goalie for his fourth playoff goal.
Wild coach Jacques Lemaire replaced Roloson with Manny Fernandez, who got the tip of his glove on Sykora's drive from the top of the left faceoff circle 95 seconds later. But an off-balance Kariya batted the rebound out of mid-air and into the net.
"I did my baseball impression and knocked it down," said Kariya, who had just one goal in his previous eight games.