Winning the first three games of their road trip would mean a lot to the Anaheim Ducks as they try to rebound from a tough start to their season.
For Jean-Sebastien Giguere, winning in Montreal might mean even more.
Giguere will make his fourth appearance in his hometown on Saturday night, as the Ducks look to hand the Canadiens their first regulation loss of 2008-09.
While Anaheim’s fans may have panicked after an 0-4-0 start, the Ducks (3-5-0) have won three of their last four, including wins at Toronto and Ottawa to start a four-game trip.
After they were outshot 13-0 in the third period of a 3-2 shootout win over the Maple Leafs on Tuesday, the Ducks again stumbled late in Friday night’s 4-3 win over the Senators. They nearly blew a 4-0 lead by allowing three goals in the final period, but held on for the victory, with Ryan Getzlaf’s first goal of the season - also the first for Anaheim’s top line - serving as the game-winner.
“We tried hard - we worked hard,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “We stayed with our structure. We got a little bit sloppy into the neutral ice as the game wore on, a little too much stuff on our backhand, but I thought we pretty much stayed with the course and we got it out in the end.”
With 27 saves, backup goalie Jonas Hiller got the win for Anaheim, as Carlyle adjusted his rotation to give Giguere the chance to play in his hometown.
In three previous starts in Montreal, Giguere has a win, a loss and a tie. He dropped his first game there despite making 32 saves in a 4-3 loss while with Calgary on Nov. 19, 1998, but won his most recent visit, stopping 21 shots in a 5-3 Anaheim win on Dec. 10, 2005. He has a 2.92 goals-against average at the Bell Centre.
This time, he’ll face a red-hot Canadiens club that has won five straight since losing its season opener in a shootout. Montreal (5-0-1) has outscored opponents 21-9 over its current run, also winning its first three home games of the season.
The Canadiens will enter Saturday’s tilt with plenty of rest after beating Florida 3-1 in their last game on Monday. Defenseman Francis Bouillon, who scored two goals in 74 games last season, tallied the game-winner in his season debut, while backup goalie Jaroslav Halak made 35 saves and earned the praise of Montreal captain Saku Koivu, who has goals in three straight games.
“I think we got outplayed by the opponent tonight, there’s no doubt about that, and without his performance, without his great game, it would have been a really long night for us,” Koivu said.
Halak was playing while starter Carey Price continues to recover from a bout with the flu. Price is likely to again miss Saturday’s game, but he said he’s been feeling better and could return next week.
“I spent three days in bed, it was pretty boring,” Price told the Canadiens’ official Web site. “But I’m feeling much better now and with another night’s sleep, I’ll be ready to go.”
Halak has never faced Anaheim. The Canadiens have just one win in their last five games against the Ducks, who last lost in Montreal on Oct. 9, 2001.
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