the regular season match-up between Anaheim and Minnesota
is any indication, the Western Conference final should
be a close one. Three of the four meetings in league play
were decided by one goal and two were shutouts.
Anaheim rookie Stanislav Chistov scored the only goal
Jean-Sebastien Giguere would need for the shutout, his
first of eight on the season.
Minnesota found the net in their next meeting with the Ducks, winning the game 4-1.
Jeremy Stevenson, Matt Johnson, Nick Schultz and Antti
Laaksonen scored for the Wild, while Cliff Ronning,
Marian Gaborik and Brad Bombardir each collected two
assists. Andy McDonald scored the only goal on netminder
Dwayne Roloson. Giguere took the loss for the Ducks.
In the first of a back-to-back set in late January, Giguere collected his second 1-0 shutout against the Wild. Paul Kariya scored the game's only goal in the first period.
Laaksonen was the overtime hero in the final meeting
of the season, scoring with less than three minutes
remaining to give the Wild a 2-1 victory in the extra
Giguere was strong again for the Ducks and after Petr Sykora scored, it looked like the 25-year-old netminder was headed for his third 1-0 blanking of Minnesota. But Schultz scored the equalizer late in the game and Roloson was solid between the pipes, making 30 stops for the win.
This is just the third time Anaheim has made it to the playoffs in its 10-year history. It's the first time the team has ever made it past the second round.
Minnesota is making its first playoff appearance in
its three-year existence.