|Ducks at home in rural Quebec, preparing for Game 3|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 31 May 2007 14:28|
The Ducks are holing up just across the river at a resort located among the farm fields and golf courses of a rural section of Gatineau. What it might lack as far as nightlife and excitement, it makes up for its serene setting: The Ducks happy to be away from the distractions that downtown Ottawa - and its hockey mad and still Stanley Cup-fevered fans - might have to offer.
``Knowing the intensity and the atmosphere that's created in Canadian cities with the culture of the game, we thought it was in our best interests that we moved and got away from downtown,'' coach Randy Carlyle said. ``We think it's time to focus. We can sacrifice our interaction with the public and focus on the task at hand.''
In other words, this is a business trip for a determined Anaheim team that holds a 2-0 lead over the Senators in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup finals, which resume at Ottawa on Saturday night.
The resort - about a 30-minute drive from Scotiabank Place - also happens to have its share of good luck. It's the same place the New Jersey Devils stayed when they eliminated Ottawa in seven games in the 2003 Eastern Conference finals.
``It's fine by me,'' said defenseman Scott Niedermayer, a member of that Devils team. ``But our job is on the ice.''
They've done a good job so far.
The Ducks are coming off a 1-0 win Wednesday night in a game that would've been much more lopsided if not for the 30 shots stopped by goalie Ray Emery. Anaheim continues to dominate defensively, shutting down the Senators' top line, and also has proven to be the more physical team.
Better still, the Ducks continue to get clutch goals from their checking line, with Samuel Pahlsson scoring the lone goal with 5:44 left in Game 2.
``If we score it's kind of a bonus,'' Pahlsson said. ``We put a lot of pride in doing our thing out there and not taking any chances and playing the simple game we have to play.''
The Ducks are 14-4 this postseason, have won five straight overall and 5-2 on the road. And history suggests their 2-0 lead is a commanding one. Of the 30 teams that won their first two games at home in the finals, 29 have gone on to win the Cup.
Don't tell that to Carlyle.
``I wouldn't say there's any level of comfort,'' he said, noting that both games were decided by one goal, and the Ducks had to rally from a 2-1 deficit to win Game 1. ``There's no coach that's going to sit here and say that he's comfortable. I guarantee you our group is not comfortable.''
The Ducks, however, should take comfort in knowing they've knocked the Senators off their game. Ottawa had lost only three games in its first three playoff series and had not dropped two straight in regulation since late December.
The test now is to see whether Anaheim can continue to outplay the Senators on the road and in what should be a difficult setting. Ottawa fans haven't witnessed a Stanley Cup final home game since the old Senators beat Boston to win the title in 1927.
``Well, it's going to be some type of, well, not a zoo, but it's going to be crazy. It's going to be fun,'' Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere said. ``But it's something that we shouldn't even worry about. We should just go about playing our game.''
Giguere, a native of Montreal, sure isn't complaining about the team's decision to stay in Quebec.
``It feels like I'm at home right now,'' said Giguere, noting that he'll have numerous family members at the games in Ottawa. ``It's going to be a different experience. It's nice to be able to do that for them.''