Ryan Kesler has spent the last couple of days trying to get away from the Anaheim Ducks’ devastating loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final. When he does think about what went wrong in Game 7 though, the answer he comes to is that it was played at all.
“Obviously we lost to a good team. Should we have ended it in Game 6? Absolutely,” Kesler told the Orange County Register’s Eric Stephens. “You got to put away a team. Especially that team. We let them hang around too long and they bit us.”
Game 5 was a roller coaster, with Anaheim taking a 3-0 lead in the first period only to be forced into overtime because Jonathan Toews scored two goals in the final two minutes of the third period. Before that contest, the Ducks had already lost to Chicago twice in extra time, so the everything seemed to be pointing to a come-from-behind Chicago win. Instead Anaheim caught a break as Matt Beleskey was able to capitalize on Chicago’s bad change.
That opportunity was squandered though as Chicago rallied to a 5-2 victory in Game 6. Anaheim once again allowed Chicago to take a big lead in Game 7 en route to a 5-3 loss.
Kesler was brought in over the summer of 2014 to help give the team a boost in the playoffs and he did his part. He had seven goals and 13 points in 16 contests to provide the Ducks with a serious second line scoring threat. He also won 57.6% of his faceoffs in the playoffs.
He’s under contract for one more season with an annual cap hit of $5 million.