Sun, May 18, 2003 - Page 24 News List

Anaheim in running for Stanley Cup

NHL Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 24 shots and Adam Oates scored twice, leading the Mighty Ducks past Minnesota to win the Western Conference title

AP , ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA

More magic in Anaheim: The Mighty Ducks are in the Stanley Cup finals for the first time.

Forty-year-old Adam Oates scored twice, and Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 24 shots on his 26th birthday Friday night as the seventh-seeded Ducks beat the Minnesota Wild 2-1 for their second sweep of the playoffs.

"It's a great birthday present, something I've been dreaming of since I was a kid," said Giguere, who stopped 122 of 123 Minnesota shots in the Western Conference finals. "Just to be part of this is very exceptional."

The Wild's lone goal against Giguere and the Ducks is the fewest ever in a best-of-seven series. Boston had just two in a 1935 series, and Montreal had two in a 1952 series.

Minnesota came into the Western Conference finals as the playoffs' top scoring team, with 42 goals, but Giguere stifled the Wild's offense.

Their only goal ended Giguere's playoff shutout streak at 217 minutes, 54 seconds _ the longest since 1951 -- and fifth-longest in playoff history.

Anaheim will face the winner of the Eastern Conference finals between the New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators. New Jersey leads the series 2-1.

Giguere, whose goaltending has been the hallmark of Anaheim's 12-2 run through the playoffs, lost his bid for an unprecedented fourth consecutive postseason shutout on Minnesota's fourth shot, but was unbeatable the rest of the way.

Oates, signed by Anaheim as a free agent last July, broke a 1-1 tie when he scored on a power play at 8:30 of the second period. As he was for his first goal of the game, Oates was in perfect position, this time parked near the goal just left of the crease.

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