from Eric Stephens of the OC Register,
The Ducks are in the Western Conference finals and they’re one step away from playing for the Stanley Cup. They’ve got the formidable Chicago Blackhawks to deal with, needing to get four wins against them with their first chance in Game 1 on Sunday at Honda Center.
Kesler, 30, is the player Ducks general manager Bob Murray wanted badly to play against a team like this. He’s a legitimate difference maker for the postseason, and he’s delivered everything they hoped to gain.
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.”