Center Ryan Kesler made his much anticipated return to Vancouver on Thursday night and his Ducks teammates helped him out edging the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 in a shootout.
The Canucks paid tribute to Kesler, who spent 10 seasons in Vancouver, pre-game with a video montage.
However, once the puck dropped, Kesler was booed much of the night.
“They paid their tickets they’re allowed to do what they want,” Kesler told TSN 1040’s Stu Walters. “Does it hurt? Yeah, obviously when you play somewhere for 10 years and give your heart and soul every night… It is what it is, you move on go home, re-energize.”
Kesler was a minus-1 with two shots on goal in 19:36 of ice time. He also won 11 of 20 face-offs and delivered two hits.
“Obviously yeah when you play somewhere 10 years you expect something different, but i’m happy for (the) support I’ve had in this city and thankful for that,” he said. “It was a weird day for me, coming back into this building after so long with different jersey on, but I enjoyed moment and happy we got two points”
Andrew Cogliano and Ryan Getzlaf gave Anaheim a 2-0 lead after one. However, the Canucks responded with three second period goals as Bo Horvat, Jannik Hansen and Radim Vrbata gave Vancouver a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes. Horvat’s goal was the first of his NHL career.
Matt Beleskey forced overtime with his ninth of the season in the third period and Jakob Silfverberg picked up the shootout winner.
Vancouver played much of the night with just five defenseman after Dan Hamhuis was injured in the first period. The team called it a lower body injury. Hamhuis appeared to get his skate caught awkwardly in the ice and had trouble putting any pressure on his right leg. Forward Alex Burrows also missed the game due to an upper body injury.
Frederik Andersen made 25 saves improving to 8-2-4 on the season while Eddie Lack stopped 23 shots in the loss.