There was a brave (or maybe slightly reckless?) fan wearing a Ducks jersey and carrying a broom outside MTS Centre in Winnipeg less than an hour before Game 4 started Wednesday night. A few hours later, he looked like a sage as the Ducks completed a playoff series sweep against Winnipeg. A few more takeaways from the final game of a wildly entertaining series.
Citizen Kesler, the series changer
Ducks GM Bob Murray tried hard to get his man, center Ryan Kesler, before the trade deadline last season, attempting to pry Kesler out of Vancouver.
When it didn’t happen then, Murray refused to give up and acquired Kesler in the summer. The acquisition was designed not for regular-season games in November and December but for the spring and the playoffs.
Kesler stepped up against the Jets, scoring three times in the final two games of the series, all three goals came at vital times, in the third period.
He was the Silencer in Winnipeg.
“Amazing,” Kesler said of quieting the crowd. “Especially when they’re heckling and yelling and booing. Obviously I wanted to silence the crowd tonight. And that’s what we did.”
Third-period moxie, again
The Ducks have had the good folks at the Elias Sports Bureau scrambling all series. They opened a 3-0 series lead by staging third-period comebacks in all three games. Game 4 was a slightly different recipe for success -- the Ducks, in fact, led after two periods.
Still, they were expecting a significant pushback from the Jets, one more last surge in front of the home crowd.
“We got to push. We can’t sit back,” Kesler said later, of the talk in the room before the final period.
“We can’t be on our heels. We got to go on our toes. That was the talk in the locker room. We knew it was going to be their best period. It was definitely one of our best periods in this series.”
Balance up and down the lineup
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf named several players who contributed major efforts in Game 4, and said he could go up and down the lineup.
There were many candidates beyond Kesler, Corey Perry and goalie Frederik Andersen.
There was forward Emerson Etem, who scored the goal of the series with a highlight-reel effort; forward Andrew Cogliano, who scored, and had four points in the final two games of the series; and Tomas Fleischmann, who stepped in after Chris Wagner got hurt in Game 2 and shifted to center.
“We were just so relentless and were nonstop throughout the entire series,” Etem said. “We’ve got all-stars. We’ve got all-world players in our dressing room and everyone just feeds off of it.
“We’ve got a great mix of older veterans and young guys and younger guys just feed off of Kes and obviously Corey and Ryan [Getzlaf]. They set the tone each and every game. You know they’re going to show up and it’s our job to follow them.”