This was such a nice love-in with No. 17.
Except that it was with current Canucks forward Radim Vrbata, not former Vancouver center and Anaheim Duck Ryan Kesler.
When 17s collide.
The new-kid-in-town, Vrbata, who signed as a free agent in the summer, felt the love as he scored his team-leading ninth goal. Kesler, who played here for 10 seasons, mostly felt the cold shoulder in a chilly reception from the fans in his first game back since getting traded to Anaheim in June.
Kesler said he felt “a lot” of satisfaction as the Ducks came away with the victory, 4-3, in a shootout over the Canucks on Thursday night at Rogers Arena.
“The guys battled extremely hard,” said Kesler, who heard boos all night and even louder ones when he took his turn in the shootout and missed.
“We had a terrible second period, but we battled back like we’ve done all year, a resilient group in here. I’m proud the way the guys played tonight.”
He was happy to put this game in the rear-view mirror.
“Let’s just say I’m glad it’s over with now,” Kesler said. “Get back to the sunshine, get back home.”
Kesler admitted the reception hurt.
“When you play somewhere for 10 years, you expect something different,” he said. “But I’m happy for the support I’ve gotten in the city over the years. They paid for their tickets, they’re allowed to do what they want to do.
“Does it hurt? Obviously when you play somewhere for 10 years, you give your heart and soul every night. But it is what is. Move on, go home and reenergize.”
Corey Perry and Jakob Silfverberg scored for the Ducks against Canucks goalie Eddie Lack in the shootout, and Perry’s goal featured a terrific show of patience.
“I went back to what I used to be doing,” Perry said. “I kind of waited him out and he kind of thought I was going to shoot five-hole. I didn’t see anything right away, so I just tried to wait.”
Eight of the last 10 Ducks games have gone to overtime, including both games on this trip to Western Canada. They lost to the Calgary Flames in a shootout Tuesday, blowing a 2-0 lead in the third period, and they let a two-goal lead slip away against Vancouver.
They led, 2-0, after one period on goals by Andrew Cogliano (third of the season) and Ryan Getzlaf (sixth). This time, the Ducks faltered in the second period, not the third. Vancouver scored three times in the second: Rookie forward Bo Horvat recorded his first NHL goal, Jannik Hansen had his fifth of the season and Vrbata, all alone in front, scored at 11:48 to put the Canucks ahead, 3-2.
Anaheim’s Matt Beleskey tied it, 3-3, with a determined effort down low at 11:52 in the third period; it was his ninth goal of the season.
Vancouver had to play almost the entire game with five defensemen, rather than the usual six. Veteran defenseman Dan Hamhuis went down awkwardly and needed to be helped off the ice. The team called it a lower-body injury and he did not return.
Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin, who missed five games because of the mumps, returned to the lineup and had a team-leading 25-plus minutes of ice time.