ANAHEIM, Calif. — Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 18 saves in his first game in Anaheim since the Ducks traded him nearly two years ago, and Milan Hejduk scored TWO goals in the Colorado Avalanche's 4-2 victory on Saturday night.
Kyle Quincey and Chuck Kobasew also scored for the Avalanche, who are surging into the new year with eight wins in their last 10 games.
The Anaheim crowd gave several standing ovations to Giguere, the popular goalie who backstopped the Ducks to two Stanley Cup finals and their only NHL title. Giguere is the franchise leader with 206 victories for the Ducks, who traded him to Toronto on Jan. 31, 2010.
Giguere lost his job during the 2008-09 season to Jonas Hiller, who made 22 saves in the miserable Ducks' 10th loss in 13 games under new coach Bruce Boudreau.
Lubomir Visnovsky and Bobby Ryan scored for Anaheim, which is stuck in 29th place in the 30-team overall NHL standings. Saku Koivu had two assists in his return to the Ducks' lineup after an eight-game absence with a strained groin.
Ryan O'Reilly had two assists, and Hejduk punctuated his first multigoal game of the season with a third-period power-play score for the Avalanche, who easily hung on to an early 3-0 lead in their 40th game of the season.
Boudreau even attempted to shake up his slumping lineup by briefly splitting up captain Ryan Getzlaf and MVP Corey Perry, who have mostly played on the same line since they joined the Ducks during the 2005-06 season. Boudreau put the duo back together later, but Ryan's line with Koivu and Teemu Selanne accounted for both Anaheim goals.
At least Ducks fans could enjoy Giguere, who spent parts of nine season with the Ducks — both Mighty and otherwise — from 2000-10.
Giguere won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2003 as the NHL's playoff MVP despite losing the Stanley Cup finals in seven close games to the New Jersey Devils. Four years later, he helped the Ducks to California's only Stanley Cup title, winning 36 games in the regular season before Anaheim steamrolled through the playoffs.
Giguere started the 2009 All-Star game, but was a backup by the time Anaheim reached the second round of the playoffs. The Ducks traded him to the Maple Leafs several months later, and he faced the Ducks in Toronto before signing with Colorado last summer.
Thousands of fans from Orange County's tight-knit hockey community showed up to welcome Giguere with cheers, jerseys and signs reading "We still get Jiggy!" and "I'm a goalie because of you, Giguere."
The Ducks honored Giguere with a lengthy video tribute during the first TV timeout, and the Honda Center crowd gave another standing ovation to the goalie, who raised his stick in acknowledgement.
The Avalanche gave a lead to Giguere out of the ensuing faceoff when Visnovsky's clearing attempt took a bizarre bounce off the boards. Hejduk slid behind the defense and beat Hiller for the former 50-goal scorer's first goal in 14 games.
Quincey and Kobasew scored 1:16 apart in the second period. Visnovsky's long shot late in the period ended Giguere's shutout bid, but Hejduk scored again on a power play early in the third.
NOTES: The Ducks went 2-5-1 in the absence of Koivu, their second-line center and assistant captain. ... Despite his many playoff achievements for Anaheim, Giguere's best statistical season was in 2007-08, when he set club records for goals-against average (2.12) and save percentage (.922) before the Ducks' title defense ended in the first round.