SUN Hockey Pool

Gig-antic feat not forgotten

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:49 PM ET

Can Jean-Sebastien Giguere bottle lightning again?

That's the question hockey fans, especially the Flames faithful, will be asking now that the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim are back in the playoffs.

Remember, it was three years ago Giguere, the former Flame -- became Superman.

He was the backbone of the Ducks run to the Stanley Cup final, claiming the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, boasting such amazing numbers as a 1.62 goals against average, .954 save percentage and five shutouts.

Naturally, eyes will be on him to repeat -- or at least come as close as possible to repeating -- those feats.

"They can ask that but I'm just happy we're part of the playoffs," said Giguere, who'll get the start when the post-season tournament begins Friday. "It's an honour to be part of the NHL playoffs, it's really hard to get in. I think we should be happy to be there, get some experience for the young guys and hope for the best.

"Once you're in the playoffs, anything can happen."

Like the Flames in 2004, the Ducks proved that adage to be true in '03.

But what people seem to forget is Anaheim's Cinderella squad went into the post-season one of the NHL's hottest squads.

Much like this year's team, which posted a 24-11-5 record down the stretch.

"We've been playing well the last three or four months and we deserve to be in the playoffs," Giguere said. "We deserve to have fun when we're there. We're gonna be a tough team to beat.

"But saying that, every other one of the 15 teams are gonna be tough to beat. We've just got to go in there and have fun."

It's a unique approach to have during the pressure cooker that is the NHL playoffs but Giguere insists enjoying the moment is the best way for him to approach it all.

"Playoffs is the best time," he said enthusiastically.

"You play hockey for the playoffs. There's no better time. There's nothing like playoff hockey. Just watching it, it's a lot more intense.

"You're tired and stuff like that but I think the schedule is actually better because games are every two days and you have time to recover. Yes, guys play through pain but this is what it's all about.

"You want to be part of it."

Facing the Flames, Giguere's return to the post-season -- the Ducks fell well short of the playoffs in 2003-04 -- comes with a unique opportunity.

No, he doesn't have a grudge driving him to eliminate the Flames.

"I've never experienced playoffs in Canada, so that would be something quite interesting. I heard the Red Mile was pretty crazy a few years ago -- not that I would want to go to the Red Mile -- but the atmosphere in the city would be real interesting," he explained. "Obviously it's the old team and fun to play them but it's been five or six years. It's far away but still a bit there."

Nor does he see it as a showdown against himself and Flames netminder Miikka Kiprusoff.

"Personally, I don't compete against the other goalie," Giguere said. "My job is to compete against the puck, try to make saves and try to play my best."


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