It’s tough to know exactly what Jean-Sebastien Giguere was thinking when Dustin Byfuglien flattened him, then stumbled over him, midway through the second period Friday. Maybe he thought Byfuglien wanted to fight — after all, the Blackhawks’ forward did the service of removing Giguere’s helmet — as the Ducks’ goaltender responded with a quick shove.
Whatever Giguere was thinking, he needs to keep thinking it.
By all accounts, his confidence hit a high-water mark in Friday’s 3-0 shutout victory over Chicago. It was the 32nd of Giguere’s career but his first in a season that has seen him cast him as trade bait more often than an emotional leader.
“You see a guy that two weeks ago didn’t have the confidence that he could stop the puck,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “Now he feels that he sees the puck. He’s in tune with what our team is trying to do and how we’re trying to play, how his contribution can emerge to where he’s playing like we expect him to play — like he’s been playing for a number of years here.”
None of his 28 saves were truly acrobatic, but none of the many rebounds he allowed wound up giving Chicago a Grade-A scoring chance.
“When your goalie plays like that,” defenseman Nick Boynton said, “it makes it easy.”
Playing as often as he has this week, earning three straight starts, is part of the equation for Giguere. At the beginning of the week, it was tough to remember the last time he’d won a game (actually, it was March 24). Now it’s tough to remember the last time he has lost.
“I’m not different than anybody else,” Giguere said. “It’s really hard to get your game going when you’re not playing. It’s always easier when you get some games in rows, to get your legs. You try to bring your game from one game to the next; it’s easier to bring your game from one game to the next. With forwards it’s the same, it’s different for a guy who plays two minutes than one who plays 20 minutes.”