Tag: Anaheim Ducks

Anaheim Ducks v Winnipeg Jets - Game Four

Kesler, Toews set to renew rivalry


Ryan Kesler and Jonathan Toews will renew their rivalry when the Western Conference Final gets going this afternoon.

The pair got acquainted with one another as the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks met in the playoffs three straight years.

Now a member of the Anaheim Ducks, Kesler figures the animosity will pick up right where it left off.

“If I play against him in this series, I’m sure we won’t hug each other on the dot — let’s just say that,” Kesler said per the Chicago Sun-Times.

In 19 games over the three playoff series between the Hawks and Canucks, Toews scored seven goals and 20 points while Kesler had two goals and 11 points.

“[Kesler] is definitely a player you respect and challenge yourself against,” Toews said. “Most of all he plays a smart, gritty game defensively. He tries to take other top players off their game. I think our guys know he’s one of those guys we have to be concerned with — try to not let him have an easy time with us and let him play his game too easily.”

Patrick Kane has got to know Kesler as the pair were teammates on two U.S. Olympic teams and sees similarities between the two centers.

“He kind of reminds me of Jonny a little bit as a player,” said Kane. “He’s kind of that two-way centerman, easy to play with; is always looking to get the puck in your hands, too.”

Kesler has four goals and five assists in nine playoff games this season while Toews has four goals and seven assists in 10 games.

“Toews is a good player,” Kesler said. “We match up against each other. When you play the same guy for six, seven games in a row, obviously there’s going to be a rivalry there.”

Related: Ducks have embraced hard practices as long layoff nears end

Ducks’ power play poses threat to ‘Hawks

Calgary Flames v Anaheim Ducks - Game Five

The Anaheim Ducks are widely seen as the underdogs going into the Western Conference Final, but if they are to top Chicago, perhaps it won’t be on the strength of their five-on-five play. Maybe it will come by dominating with the man advantage instead.

That’s been a big part of Anaheim’s early success as its converted on 31% of its power plays so far in the playoffs. That’s in stark contrast to the Ducks’ 15.7 power-play percentage in the regular season, but given that they feature Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, their recent success may be more than just a product of a small sample size. That seems to be Chicago’s view.

“They have a couple of really skilled individuals on that team and are really good at those short passes in front of the net, close to the net, and finding good passing lanes,” Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson told CSN Chicago. “It’s going to be a tough challenge but I think we came up with a couple of big kills against Minnesota. The overall total wasn’t what we wanted, but that’s definitely one area we can improve on. And we have to improve on it if we’re going to move forward to the next round.”

The other part of the equation is Chicago’s penalty kill, which as Hjalmarsson touched on, has left something to be desired overall. The Blackhawks have successfully killed just 72.7% of their penalties in the playoffs, which makes this matchup look all the more troubling for Chicago.

It’s definitely an area of their game that the Blackhawks will be tested on in this series, but coach Joel Quenneville has an obvious solution to minimize the potential impact: “Stay out of the box.”

We’ll see how successful Chicago is in that regard.

Ducks have embraced hard practices as long layoff nears end

Cam Fowler
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Thirteen. That’s the number of games the Anaheim Ducks have participated in since the start of April. In other words, they’ve had an off day nearly three-quarters of the time over that span.

That light schedule, brought on primarily thanks to their quick work of Winnipeg and Calgary, has been great for recovering from the wear and tear of the campaign and postseason, but it’s also hard to stay sharp when you’re not actually playing. Avoiding rust can be a challenge, but its one defenseman Cam Fowler feels they’ve met through intense practices.

“The big reason why we’ve had success is because how we’ve been practicing has carried over into the games,” Fowler said, per the team’s website. “That’s really important, especially when you have six or seven days off. It might be easy to sit back and relax for a second, but the good thing about our group is we continue to push each other in practice.”

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau has noticed that too and praised the team’s determination, even compared to what Anaheim showed him in previous years.

“We’ve practiced a lot, and they’ve been hard practices, but these guys haven’t complained about it,” Boudreau said. “They’ve embraced the practices.”

It has to help that the Ducks are seeing results for their efforts. For the first time since 2007, Anaheim is in the Western Conference Final. The Chicago Blackhawks will likely prove to be more difficult than the Ducks’ previous opponents, but if Anaheim plays like it did in the first two rounds then this should be a good series.


Perry returns to Ducks practice after missing previous two

Kesler has ‘upped’ his game in the playoffs

Silfverberg’s playoff breakout is a big part of Ducks’ success

Kesler has ‘upped’ his game in the playoffs


It’s been almost 11 full months since the Vancouver Canucks traded Ryan Kesler to the Anaheim Ducks in a draft day blockbuster.

The Ducks are winning this trade.

The Canucks had a rebound season but it ended in disappointment with a first-round playoff loss to Calgary. The Ducks and the 30-year-old Kesler are in the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks.

With four wins in this round, the Ducks would advance to the Stanley Cup Final. Should that happen, it would be Kesler’s second trip to the championship series in five years.

And he’s been a big part of the Ducks’ success this post-season, too.

From the Orange County Register:

Twenty goals and 27 assists were welcomed and appreciated over the 82-game schedule, but not the primary reason why Murray kept talking to Vancouver about acquiring him. He’s got four goals and five assists in the Ducks’ playoff games, but it’s more than that.

Kesler has been dominant in the faceoff circle, winning 63.7 percent of his draws. He’s an essential part of a penalty-killing unit that’s allowed only four power-play goals. And each of his scores has made a difference.

“There’s been a lot of moments like that,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Those are the things that probably stand out more for me than anybody scoring three goals or getting booed or any of those things.

“So far, what I’ve seen, he’s upped his game.”

Perry returns to Ducks practice after missing previous two

Sabers Ducks Hockey

The leading playoff scorer was back on the ice Friday, as Corey Perry returned to Anaheim Ducks practice after missing it on Tuesday and Thursday.

Perry, who leads all postseason skaters with 15 points through nine games, was shook up in the series-clinching Game 5 win over Calgary in Round 2, courtesy a collision with Flames forward Matt Stajan. Perry looked to be in serious discomfort on the play, but returned shortly afterward and went on to score the game-winner in OT.

There was some concern of a lingering ailment following the Stajan hit, but Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau said he fully expects Perry to play in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final, which will go at the Honda Center on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.