The more the Winnipeg crowd booed him, the more
"It energizes me. Obviously you hear it. It's great," he said. "Obviously I'm doing something right. I fed off it and it helped my game."
The more fans heckled him, the more determined the veteran center became to fulfill the
This series was not as easy or as smooth as the word "sweep" suggests. It was rugged and dramatic — Wednesday's game was the only one in which the Ducks carried a lead into the third period — and the loyal fans here made the return of
"It's a building I know from back in the day," he said. "It's nice to come back and be successful."
The Ducks would not have been as successful without his tireless efforts. Kesler battled. He went to the hard areas of the ice. He collected three goals and five points in four games, made his linemates better, and won 63.3% of his faceoffs in a complete performance that completely illustrated why the Ducks wanted him and gave a hint of how far they might go with him on their side.
"It's why we got him," right wing
General Manager Bob Murray said Kesler's play spoke for itself, but there's more to it.
"He gives us two lines," said Murray, who traded forward
Sharing the burden made it lighter and makes the Ducks a more dangerous team.
"I'm really comfortable with our group. I thought we had a good team last year, and I thought we took a lot of strides,"
Getzlaf and Perry have long been nicknamed "the Twins" for their long friendship and long-standing status as linemates, but Murray suggested Perry's real twin is Kesler because both thrive on being booed by opposing teams' fans. "They're so similar, it's unbelievable," Murray said.
Perry liked that notion. "We like to be the bad guy or the villain or whatever you guys want to call it and use that to our advantage," he said. "It's been like that for the both of us for our whole careers. It's been fun."
Getting this far was fun for Kesler, but he considers this only the beginning.
"You can relish it tonight. But it's one series. We didn't come here to win one series. We came here for the whole thing," he said. "It's one step. We've got another step and we've got three more to go, and we've got to focus on step two now."
With Kesler at his best, the Ducks are capable of a long playoff run. "If we keep playing like that, for sure," he said.
That's as sure as the chances he will be booed wherever the Ducks play next, the rest of this playoff run.