Ducks Get a Low Rate of Return in 4-1 Loss
By Chris Foster, Times Staff Writer
UNIONDALE, N.Y. â" Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere returned to the
ice Saturday, usually a good sign for the Mighty Ducks. But it wasn't
Keith Carney, the Ducks' top defenseman, returned to the lineup, but
he didn't play that way.
These were the highlights in a game of diminishing returns for the
Ducks. A 4-1 here's-your-hat loss to the New York Islanders in front
of 10,782 at the Nassau Coliseum left what would have been footnotes
as high points for the Ducks.
Giguere, who has been Martin Gerber's caddie the last three games,
was brought back 4 minutes 50 seconds into the second period, after
Gerber let in three of eight shots that had come his way. Carney, who
was sidelined four weeks because of a broken bone in his right foot,
labored through 16:59 of playing time.
And the Ducks were brought back to Earth a little, as the Islanders
jumped on them early, scoring two first-period goals.
"It's a lot easier playing up 2-0 than down 2-0," defenseman Ruslan
Jason Blake and Oleg Kvasha scored first-period goals for the
Islanders, then Alexei Yashin made it 3-0 early in the second period.
Goalie Rick DiPietro was up to nearly all of the few scoring chances
the Ducks managed, stopping 17 of 18 shots.
"I thought we had good preparation. I thought," Duck Coach Mike
Babcock said. "But obviously when you come out of the room and the
other team is that much better than youâ¦. It's not like they
dominated us, but they were more patient and stuck to their plan."
Babcock's plan had Giguere starting tonight against Chicago. Plan B
Gerber had been unbeatable, going 3-0-1 in his last four starts. He
began the day tops among NHL goaltenders in goals-against average and
save percentage. Those numbers took a beating.
The math was tough on the Ducks: eight shots, three goals.
Trent Hunter fired a wild shot from the blue line that ricocheted off
the boards and went to Blake behind the net. Blake then sent the puck
on another zigzag journey, flipping a shot off Gerber's left leg pad
and into the net for a 1-0 lead 4:20 into the game.
Kvasha made the score 2-0 with a slick back-hander at 16:34. It was
left to Yashin to knock Gerber down and out. His hard shot hit
Gerber, sending him to the seat of his pants and then to a seat on
the bench, after the puck trickled into the net.
"We gave up 12-13 scoring chances in the game, which isn't a ton,"
Babcock said. "But we gave up some good ones, and they buried them."
So Giguere was summoned.
Although Giguere's hefty 3.14 goals-against average has been the
cause of some concern, there was no doubt who was No. 1, according to
"There is no question about that," Babcock said. "Everyone talks
about it, the reality is that we know Jigs is our guy and we have to
give him the opportunity to be that guy."
This was not opportunity knocking, with the Islanders in control. But
neither was it an opportunity wasted.
"We were down three-cob, we need a change anyway," Babcock
said. "Giguere is starting [today]. He hasn't played in a bit. It was
a chance to get him in the game, get him going."
Giguere saw 12 shots and made 11 saves, and the goal he allowed
couldn't be laid at his crease. Hunter was allowed to glide
unmolested into the slot, where he one-timed a Shawn Bates pass for a
4-1 lead two minutes into the third period, ending any comeback
illusions the Ducks might have harbored.
"It's not easy to go in a game like that, but the backup's job is to
be ready," Giguere said.
"That's why you have to stay focused. I had to battle out there. But
that will make myself more confident for tomorrow's start."
His Long Rest Is Over
By Chris Foster, Times Staff Writer
UNIONDALE, N.Y. â" Even before Saturday's 4-1 loss to the New York
Islanders, Coach Mike Babcock had told goaltender Jean-Sebastien
Giguere that he was going back into the lineup after an eight-day
"I thought with the amount of games we have played it was time he got
back in and get him rolling," Babcock said.
Getting back in is set in stone. Getting him rolling depends on
whether Giguere is his old rock-solid self.
"I should be well-rested after nine days," Giguere said. "I'll be
ready. I might have to battle in the first period.
"I think it's easier for a goaltender to come back after a layoff.
Practice is like games for goalies. That should make the transition
Giguere got a jump on that transition Saturday, replacing Martin
Gerber 4 minutes 50 seconds into the second period.
Defenseman Keith Carney was physically ready to return to the lineup,
after sitting out four weeks with a broken bone in his foot. But he
remained rusty on the finer points of the game.
"The only way to get your timing back and get in game shape is
obviously to play," Carney said. "My foot feels fine. What I have to
get used to is the speed of the game. I have to make quick decisions
and move the puck quicker."
Carney, the Ducks' top defensive defenseman, played 16:59 Saturday,
far off his normal 20-plus-minute workhorse duty. He was rarely
matched up against the Islanders' top line.
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