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Last season, the Anaheim Ducks eliminated the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the playoffs en route to the franchise's first Stanley Cup.
The Ducks could be getting a major part of last season's championship team back in net on Sunday when they host the undefeated Wild in a playoff rematch.
Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere appears to be very close to returning to Anaheim's (2-3-1) lineup after undergoing hernia surgery in August.
"If I have to put a percentage on it, I'm close to 100. I'm in the upper 90s. It's a lot of progress," Giguere told the team's official Web site.
Giguere set a franchise record with 36 victories last season, breaking the previous mark of 34 he set in 2002-03. His 2.26 goals-against average was fifth-best in the league, and he was outstanding in the playoffs, going 13-4-0 with a 1.97 GAA and one shutout.
Giguere appeared in only two games against Minnesota in the postseason as he tended to a medical problem with his newborn son, but stopped 30 of 31 shots in just over 69 minutes of ice time in those contests. In the 2006-07 regular season, Giguere went 2-0-1 with a 1.62 GAA against the Wild, and is 8-6-2 with two ties, a 2.04 GAA and three shutouts lifetime against them.
"He's obviously a huge part of our team. He gives that extra confidence on the ice," center Andy McDonald said. "We've had a lot of success with him in the net. Everyone I think elevates their game a little bit when we know he's back there."
The Ducks beat Minnesota in five games in last season's playoffs, winning all three games at the Honda Center.
Anaheim was tied with Nashville for the league's fourth-best home record at 26-6-9 last season, with Giguere going 21-3-6 with a 2.18 GAA at the Honda Center.
In their home opener on Wednesday, the Ducks raised their Stanley Cup, Western Conference and Pacific Division champion banners before defeating Boston 2-1.
Ryan Getzlaf scored the tying goal and assisted on Francois Beauchemin's game-winner at 13:35 of in the third period.
If Giguere is unable to play on Sunday, Ilya Bryzgalov likely would start again. Bryzgalov made 18 saves against the Bruins for his first win of the season, and went 3-1-0 with a 2.09 GAA against Minnesota in last season's playoffs.
The Wild (4-0-0) rallied with two goals in the final seven minutes, including Eric Belanger's short-handed game winner with 3:15 to play to beat Phoenix 3-2 on Saturday. Minnesota, which won a franchise-record six straight games to open last season, is the only NHL team without a loss.
Niklas Backstrom, who has been in net for all four games, yielded two first-period goals Saturday, but none thereafter and finished with 27 saves.
"When I gave up those goals, I felt I let the team down," Backstrom said. "Between the second and third periods, we talked about the situation, and had all the confidence we would come back."
He has allowed two goals or less in each of his last 16 games dating back to last season, going 14-0-1 with a 1.18 GAA and five shutouts - including two this season - in that span.
Backstrom took the loss in his only regular season start against the Ducks on Nov. 12, allowing three goals in a 3-2 defeat, and went 1-4-0 with a 2.22 GAA against them in last season's playoffs.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard had five goals and an assist in four regular season games against the Ducks in 2006-07, but was limited to a goal and an assist against them in the playoffs.
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