The Anaheim Ducks netminder made 11 saves in a 6-2 Game 5 win over the Ottawa Senators that clinched Anaheim’s first ever title, a much happier ending than the seven-game loss to New Jersey in the 2003 championship series.
Not bad for a guy who began the post-season on the bench.
Giguere had missed the final week of the regular season to deal with a serious family situation, his baby son Maxime Oliver born April 4 with a deformed right eye.
A week later when doctors had things under control with his son, Giguere was stunned when head coach Randy Carlyle chose to start backup Ilya Bryzgalov for the first four games of the playoffs against Minnesota.
“What happened was Bryzgalov won the first three games,” explained Carlyle. “And then I’m dumb, but not that dumb. I didn’t think I could put myself or the team in a position to put the other guy in until he faltered. And Giguere would have gotten the net at some point. He stole the net probably in the last half of the season, he earned the opportunity to be our go-to guy.
“With the issues with the family matters and the health issues with his son, you had to make a decision and it wasn’t one that went over favourably with (Giguere).”
Once Giguere got back in, he didn’t look back, going 13-4 en route to backstopping his team to a title.
“He’s a wonderful person,” Ducks GM Brian Burke said Wednesday. “Often a goalie is in the background on a team but he’s a leader on our team. He’s as good a kid as I’ve ever had. And he works so hard. He tries to stop every puck in practice. And he’s a money goaltender. His record is clear.”
But was this Giguere’s last game with the Ducks? The 30-year-old Montreal native is slated for unrestricted free agency July 1.
“I’d love to re-sign here,” Giguere said. “This is a team that’s going to be good for many years. You want to be part of a team like that. It’s well run. It well owned. It’s well coached. This would be my No. 1 pick.
“There are many reasons: I’ve got my house here, I feel very comfortable around here. My son’s doctors are all around here, at UCLA. There are many reasons why I would want to sign here. Is it going to happen? Hey – I don’t have a (crystal) ball. We’ll see.”