(SportsNetwork.com) – Ryan Kesler will face his former team for the first time
on Sunday evening as the Anaheim Ducks play host to the Vancouver Canucks.
Kesler was a key contributor for the Canucks after they selected him 23rd
overall in 2003 draft. In 655 career games with the franchise, he had 182
goals and 211 assists while also winning the Selke Trophy in 2011.
The center also impressed with seven goals and 19 points in 25 playoff games
in 2011, when Vancouver made a run to the Cup Finals and lost to Boston in
“Seeing how passionate that city was, and the fans, and the hundreds of
thousands of people in the streets after every game sticks out,” Kesler told
Anaheim’s website of that run to the Finals. “I was with the team for 11
years, and going through what I went through with them and that city, it’s
going to be exciting.”
After Vancouver failed to make the playoffs last season following two straight
first-round exits, Kesler was dealt to the Anaheim Ducks on June 27 along with
a third-round pick in 2015 for forward Nick Bonino, defenseman Luca Sbisa and
a first and third-round selection in 2014.
In 15 games with the Ducks this season, the 30-year-old Kesler has three goals
and 10 points in 15 games. He’ll take on some added responsibility tonight
with Corey Perry expected to miss a third straight game with the flu.
Perry, who is tied for the NHL lead with 11 goals, missed an overtime loss to
the New York Islanders on Wednesday, as did Ryan Getzlaf due to illness.
Getzlaf, though, was able to return on Friday and scored in a 3-2 shootout
setback to the Arizona Coyotes.
Matt Beleskey also lit the lamp for the Ducks, who play the third contest of a
four-game homestand looking to avoid a third straight loss. Frederik Andersen
finished the game with 23 stops.
“We had opportunities to score goals and we weren’t able to get them by
(Arizona goaltender Mike Smith),” Getzlaf said.
Cam Fowler left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury and is
day-to-day. Fellow defenseman Francois Beauchemin also is a game-time decision
due to the flu as he missed practice on Saturday along with Perry.
Andersen should get the start and has won all three of his previous games
versus the Canucks with a 1.00 goals against average. He has stopped 97 of the
100 shots faced.
The Canucks eye a bounce back effort tonight after getting blasted 5-1 on
Saturday night by the Los Angeles Kings. Vancouver had netted eight goals in
winning the first two of a four-game road trip before suffering just its
second loss in eight games.
Chris Higgins scored the only goal of the game for the Canucks on Saturday and
Ryan Miller allowed four goals on 22 shots in two periods of work. Eddie Lack
allowed a goal on 14 shots in the third period.
“We are not good enough right now, we have to get better,” Canucks head coach
Willie Desjardins said.
Having gotten pulled last night, Miller may get a chance to start again
tonight. He is 3-3-0 with a 2.56 GAA and .923 save percentage in his career
versus the Ducks.
Bonino and Sbisa will make their returns to Anaheim tonight. Bonino has been a
solid addition to the Canucks with seven goals and 12 points in 15 games,
while Sbisa has three points in 14 contests.
The Ducks swept their five-game set with the Canucks last season and have won
nine of the past 12 meetings overall and three straight as the host.