Giguere stopped two short-handed breakaways in the final three minutes of regulation and earned his second assist of the season on Andy McDonald’s winner 25 seconds into overtime in a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.
“I was just happy to get the win at the end of the day,” Giguere said. “That doesn’t happen very often, fortunately.”
Scott Niedermayer had a goal and assisted on the winner for the Pacific Division leaders, who have 106 points – the most ever by a team from the West Coast. The Ducks are tied with the Red Wings for first overall in the West and trail Buffalo by one for first overall.
Anaheim is 12-3-2 in its last 17 after completing a 3-1 trip.
“Everybody looked at the schedule and said we had the most difficult one, and you’d have to agree,” coach Randy Carlyle said. “We just found a way to get the points with not one of our better efforts.”
David Backes and Lee Stempniak scored for the Blues, who finished 18-19-4 at home in a rebuilding season after finishing last overall in 2005-06. The Blues finish with four games on the road, and the team got a standing ovation from a near-sellout crowd of 18,609 before leaving the ice.
“It would have been nice to see a couple of those chances go in at the end of the third period,” coach Andy Murray said. “We were pushing it.”
McDonald has 26 goals for third-best on the team, but had been scoreless in his previous six games. On the winner, Niedermayer lofted a pass through the Blues’ defence to the hard-charging McDonald, who poked a backhander past Jason Bacashihua on the only shot for either team in the extra period.
“He made a terrific pass,” McDonald said. “He’s made plays like that all year.”
The Ducks scored on their first two power plays, giving them five straight goals with the man advantage, before finally coming up empty late in the second period. Anaheim is 5-for-10 the last two games after going 5-for-30 the previous seven.
Giguere stopped Radek Dvorak on a short-handed break with about 3:25 to go, stuffing a backhand shot, and then found a way to thwart Jay McClement on a two-on-none break about a minute later. The goalie was on his own after defenceman Francois Beauchemin fell.
McClement splintered his stick on the bench on his way off the ice.
“Two-on-none, you’ve got to score,” McClement said. “Those opportunities don’t come along very often and you’ve got to score on those chances.”
Stempniak’s 25th goal early in the third tied it at 2. He had an open net after Barret Jackman’s shot from the left point bounced off the back wall and emerged on the right side.
McDonald had given the Ducks a 2-1 lead midway through the second when he broke in alone on after Chris Kunitz won a battle for the puck along the boards.
Niedermayer scored his 14th goal on a rebound at the two-minute mark of the opening period while Dvorak was off for hooking, and Backes answered for St. Louis at 14:07.
Backes beat Giguere from the slot after McClement intercepted a clearing effort, scoring his first goal in 10 games.
Notes: The Kings’ 105-point season in 1974-75 in an 80-game season was the previous best for a West Coast team. … Stempniak has a goal in each of his last two games after totalling two assists his previous seven games. … McDonald had two assists in his previous six games. … The Ducks were 3-1 in the season series against the Blues, and have won six of the last seven overall.