Sunday, May 25, 2003

Brodeur vs. Giguere in championship matchup

Stanley Cup finals

The Associated Press

The upstart Mighty Ducks of Anaheim are well-rested and eager to get started in their first Stanley Cup finals. They face the New Jersey Devils, who won the Cup in 1995 and 2000 and were in the finals in 2001.

"As soon as the game was over last night, you're excited," Anaheim coach Mike Babcock said Saturday, referring to New Jersey's 3-2 win over Ottawa in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals Friday.

By the time they open against the Devils in New Jersey on Tuesday, the Ducks will have been off for 10 days since they completed their Western Conference finals sweep of Minnesota.

"I could tell by the way we were today, our guys are excited and looking forward to playing," Babcock said after a spirited practice. "It's like the switch goes on again. It's been long, and yet, you can't just not do anything for 10 days. Our guys have worked hard to prepare and we're going to be ready."

Goaltenders Jean-Sebastien Giguere of Anaheim, in his first postseason, and Martin Brodeur of New Jersey, a member of two Cup champions, have been the main reasons the Ducks and Devils have made it to the championship round.

"Brodeur is obviously a great goaltender - a guy I looked up to when I was a kid," said Giguere, 26.

Still, he downplayed any goalie-vs.-goalie talk. "There's no such thing. It's team against team," Giguere said. "Whoever shows up best as a team is going to win."

After the Devils' clinching win over Ottawa, Brodeur was asked about Giguere. "I will answer a lot of questions from now until the end of the series about Giguere, but that's not new," he said. "I played a final against Patrick Roy a few years ago and it was the same.

"Technically, he's as good as anybody out there and he's playing with a lot of confidence."

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