Saturday, May 3, 2003

Upstart Mighty Ducks looking to clinch series



The Enquirer and wire reports

DALLAS - The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim are close to wrapping up a second straight playoff series. One more win would see them dispatch top-seeded Dallas the same way they sent defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit packing in the first round.

They know the Stars aren't eliminated yet.

"I'm sure they're not discouraged," Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere said. "The games have been so close, I'm sure they felt like that could have won each one. Obviously, they're going to be even more determined now, and they're in their rink."

Anaheim has a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series. But every game has been decided by one goal, including the five-overtime thriller in Game 1 and another overtime game in Dallas, both won by the Mighty Ducks.

Game 5 is 3 p.m. today in Dallas.

The Stars didn't come back the nine other times they faced 3-1 deficits, but Giguere was right. They don't sound too concerned about that history.

"We're still a very confident team," first-year Dallas coach Dave Tippett said Friday. "We've put our backs to the wall, but we've been strong at home all year. We expect to come out and play very well, get a win and push the series out."

DUCKS TIE RECORDS: By winning seven of their first eight career playoff games, Anaheim coach Mike Babcock and Giguere tied NHL records.

Babcock, who led the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks to a combined 74-59-20-7 record (.547 winning percentage), including a franchise-best 41 wins and 95 points in 2000-01 prior to being named as the sixth head coach in Anaheim franchise history last May, is one of five coaches to do so, joining Buffalo's Lindy Ruff (1998), Montreal's Pat Burns (1989) and Leo Dandurand (1924), Philadelphia's Mike Keenan (1985).

Giguere, who posted a 12-7-2 with a 2.43 goals-against average in 23 games with Cincinnati in 2000-01, joins Philadelphia's Garth Snow (1997), Montreal's Jacques Plante (1954) and Bill Durnan (1944), Detroit's Normie Smith (1937) and Boston's Tiny Thompson (1930) as goalies winning seven of their first eight playoff starts.

BLUE JACKETS: Left wing Rick Nash has been named a finalists for the 2003 Calder Memorial Trophy for NHL rookie of the year.

The other finalists are St. Louis Blues defenseman Barrett Jackman and Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg.

Nash, 18, the first overall selection in the 2002 NHL entry draft, registered 17 goals and 22 assists for 39 points in 74 games.




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