Giguere to mates: Bring your 'A' game

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A media hoard went in search of the Mighty Ducks' pulse on Friday afternoon, and they found it in goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

When teammate Paul Kariya was asked on the podium if he was worried that the Ducks might be seen as a fluke because of their seemingly lifeless performance so far in the Stanley Cup finals, Giguere took the opportunity to jump in and answer the question.

"We're not a fluke,'' Giguere said. "We're the most improved team in the NHL since the beginning of the season. Since Christmas, we are one of the best teams in the league. We've beat Detroit, Dallas and Minnesota by doing what we do, not by luck."

The problem is that under the hot media light of the playoffs, the Ducks have not done what they do. The problem is so far in the first two games, this has been one of the most lopsided finals ever. And that's why some might want to call the Mighty Ducks a fluke, might want to lump them in the class with the Carolina Hurricanes, who went from Eastern Conference champions to the 30th team in the league this season.

"We have to play better,'' defenseman Keith Carney said of his team getting shut out in the first two games of the series. "We have no choice right now. We have to come out and play our best game.''

If they don't, the series will almost surely be over sooner rather than later. If they don't, they will allow the doubters to question everything they have accomplished so far this season. But while the Ducks were bombarded with questions about heart and emotion and fire, few bit.

When asked if a veteran needed to stand up and pound his chest, Carney said: "It's been done, but behind the scenes."

When asked if the Ducks should have sent a message when they were down 3-0 in Game 2 by mixing it up, Kariya responded with a definitive no.

"That's not the kind of team we are," Kariya said. "And that's not why we've had success so far."

It's true, and it's why this dilemma of emotion is such a strange one for Anaheim. In truth, the Ducks have played with such control that they have looked emotionless in previous series. They always had the lead, they always played a passive style bent more on thinking and working than on hitting and grinding. So do they need to play with more emotion or less?

"What we need to do is play," Babcock said. "Let's play. Let's be the best we can be. The tough part for us, and we're not trying to take anything away from the Devils, but we haven't played. That part is the frustrating part.''

The Ducks are hoping getting home will be a big boost. The Ducks are hoping they have learned from the first two games. The Ducks are hoping they will turn it up a notch. But while most stayed away from the emotion issue, Giguere had no problem embracing the questions.

The man who broke his stick in frustration in Game 2 said his team definitely needed to come out with some swagger.

"They're not a better team than we are,'' Giguere said. "They're not up here and we're down here. We're right there with them. We are definitely able to play with these guys and beat them (but) everybody has to play. Come in tomorrow and play their game.''

Giguere was asked why he felt his team has lacked emotion so far in the series, and he said he didn't know.

"Maybe we think we don't deserve to win,'' he said. "This is not true, we deserve to win. We have to allow ourselves to be successful and, like I said, we have been working at this all year. There is only five games left, let's go at it and see what's going to happen. There is nothing else we can do. Bring your 'A' game, do what you have to do, make sure you bring it.''

All Kirsten Dunst jokes aside, that might be exactly what the boys from California need to do.

Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News is a regular contributor to ESPN.com.