OTTAWA — The Ducks arrived at their hotel in Canada's capital early Thursday evening a bit dazed after a long flight but pleased nevertheless with their 2-0 series lead over the Ottawa Senators in the Stanley Cup finals.
Now they won't have the comforts of a raucous home crowd urging them on. On Saturday, Ottawa will play host to its first Stanley Cup game in 80 years, and it figures to be a frenzied atmosphere for Game 3 at Scotiabank Place.
"It's going to be crazy," Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere said. "It's going to be fun. It's going to be a very exciting atmosphere. It's definitely not going to be for us, but it's going to be an interesting challenge."
With the city buzzing over the Senators, the Ducks originally wanted to stay at a hotel near the suburban arena but found that it was booked by, of all people, the NHL and some media members covering the finals.
Instead of settling for a place downtown, the team opted for a hotel across the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec. Coach Randy Carlyle said he did that to limit distractions.
"We think that it's time to focus," Carlyle said. "We can sacrifice our interaction with the public as we're focusing on the task at hand. It's not too many times you get an opportunity to play in the Stanley Cup final. And we think that this allows us to prepare our group totally 100% on hockey."
A large part of the Ducks' success in this year's playoff run has been their ability to win on the road. They've won once in Minnesota, twice in Vancouver and twice in Detroit.
The Ducks realize another road win can give them a stranglehold on the series after they held on to their home-ice advantage.
"I believe we're very comfortable playing on the road as well as at home," Giguere said. "We're a team with size. We have toughness. We can skate with any team in this league, so it doesn't really matter whether we play at home or on the road."
No champion has been crowned, but that hasn't stopped media outlets from speculating about who might win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs.
Giguere's name has been thrown about as a possible two-time winner, and Ottawa forward Daniel Alfredsson was an early favorite before the finals. Another name gaining support is Ducks center Samuel Pahlsson, who has two game-winning goals in the playoffs and has been dominating defensively.
"I haven't heard anything about that," Pahlsson said. "I wouldn't think about it either.... It's all about winning two more games, and nothing else matters."
The fifth-year forward is one of three finalists for the Selke Trophy, given to the NHL's top defensive forward.
Giguere, a Montreal native, said he is expecting several family members to attend Saturday's game.
"It's only about a couple of hours" from Ottawa, he said. "So it's going to be a different experience, and I'm happy that I can share that with some of my family, which have been my biggest fans my whole career."
It's also a homecoming for defensemen Kent Huskins and Sean O'Donnell, who were born here.