One of the few players to win a Conn Smythe despite losing the Cup Final is ready to hang up the skates.
On Monday, reports of J.S. Giguere’s looming retirement surfaced — per TVA’s Renaud Lavoie — suggesting the 37-year-old goalie was set to end his 18-year career, pending conversations with both his agent and the National Hockey League Players’ Association.
A former first-round pick of Hartford (13th overall, 1995), Giguere played for the Whalers, Flames, Ducks, Leafs and Avalanche, with most of his success coming during a 10-year stint with in Anaheim. His finest season came during the 2002-03 campaign, when he went 34-22-6 with a .920 save percentage, 2.30 GAA and eight shutouts during the regular season…then went on a playoff run to remember, posting an eye-popping .945 save percentage and 1.62 GAA in 21 games as the Ducks eventually lost to the Devils in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
In winning the Conn Smythe that year, Giguere became one of just 16 goalies to win the award and, as mentioned above, one of just five players to capture playoff MVP despite playing for the losing team in the Cup Final.
Four years after that famous postseason run, Giguere would win a Cup win Anaheim, backstopping the team to the ’07 championship over Ottawa. After leaving Anaheim, he reinvented himself as a quality veteran backup, which included a stellar ’11-12 campaign in Colorado when he made 32 appearances while posting a .919 save percentage and 2.27 GAA.
Keith Urban sang the national anthem for Game 3. Kelly Clarkson did the honors for the Nashville Predators before Game 4. Next up: Trisha Yearwood for Game 6.
The Predators hope to close out the Anaheim Ducks on Monday, and they got off to a nice start with Austin Watson scoring a quick 1-0 goal. Not long after, the Predators added another to build to a 2-0 lead.
Garth Brooks spoiled Yearwood’s appearance a bit before the contest.
Brooks also revealed Yearwood’s early fan creds:
Anaheim Ducks forward Nick Ritchie scored a goal in Game 4, but he won’t be able to provide such a scoring boost for his team in Game 6.
That’s because he was ejected during the first period after hitting rising Nashville Predators star Viktor Arvidsson from behind, bloodying the slick Swede.
Ritchie was whistled for a game misconduct and major. Remarkably, the Ducks killed the entire five-minute power-play opportunity, with Ryan Kesler‘s shorthanded chance being one of the better opportunities for either team.
It’s still a big blunder, but if the Ducks can get back in it, remember that big kill.
Video of the hit is coming soon. For now, check out the GIF:
Oddly, Arvidsson left the ice with a wound that more or less spelled out “R,” presumably for Ritchie, maybe celebrating the return of “Twin Peaks.”
(Such an obvious move might not be surreal enough for David Lynch, though. Alex Prewitt’s Zorro reference might be more, um, on the mark.)
It was already loud at Bridgestone Arena, but the Nashville Predators are making it a madhouse with a strong start against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6.
First, it was Austin Watson, who sent a puck off a Ducks skate to score a 1-0 goal on Nashville’s first shot on Jonathan Bernier, who is starting instead of John Gibson. That came about 90 seconds into the game, really revving up the crowd.
Colton Sissons scored his first goal of the Western Conference Final – on his first shot on goal of the series – to make it 2-0. At that point, Bernier had allowed two goals on three shots on goal. Bernier’s made a few stops since then, but it’s a shaky start for a Ducks team facing elimination.
There’s some solace in that Anaheim’s often at its best in dire situations, though you have to wonder how many times they can bounce back from this?
The Anaheim Ducks won’t have John Gibson back, but the Nashville Predators are dealing with some injury-related letdowns, too.
Craig Smith skated before Game 6, but he opted not to play on Monday. Mike Fisher is also unable to go for the Predators as they aim to eliminate Anaheim.
The Ducks also won’t have Rickard Rakell back in the mix, so this physical Western Conference Final continues to feel like a battle of attrition.
Click here for the official roster report.
Game 5 is airing on NBCSN right now. You can watch online and via the NBC Sports App.
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