SPORTS

Kesler scores twice to silence crowd as Ducks sweep Jets in first round

04/23/2015 01:52 EDT | Updated 07/18/2015 05:59 EDT
WINNIPEG - Ryan Kesler was happy to silence the crowd and the critics.

The Anaheim Ducks forward scored a pair of goals Wednesday to propel his team to a 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets that delivered a 4-0 first-round series sweep.

It was the second game in which he heard the white-clad fans at MTS Centre chant "Kesler sucks," a jeer he said energized him after Monday's game.

He also recalled hockey pundits and fans picking the Jets to win the series.

"I heard a lot of talk about how we were the underdogs going in and no one was giving us credit," said Kesler, who had three goals and two assists in the series.

"The fact that we came out here and won two games at home right off the bat and then came into this building, which it's a tough building to play in, and the fashion that we won it in, it's pretty incredible."

Emerson Etem, Andrew Cogliano and Sami Vatanen, with an empty-netter at 19:33, also scored for Anaheim. Frederik Andersen made 25 saves.

Corey Perry picked up a pair of assists to give him three goals and a team-high seven points in the series.

Ondrej Pavelec stopped 30 of the 34 shots he faced and Bryan Little and Mark Stuart scored Winnipeg's goals.

The Ducks await the winner of the Vancouver-Calgary series, which the Flames lead 3-1.

"It's going to be nice to sit back and just recover," Perry said. "When you're playing a hockey game where there's 100 hits, it's going to take a toll on you so you've got to just sit back, relax and get ready."

Both he and captain Ryan Getzlaf praised the drive and determination of Kesler, who was acquired in a trade with Vancouver last June to help the Ducks in the post-season.

"It's a comforting feeling knowing that he's there and he's going to play that hard for us every night," Getzlaf said.

Kesler pointed out the sweep of Winnipeg is just the first step, but he thinks they can make a run for the Stanley Cup.

"If we keep playing like that, for sure," Kesler said. "Freddy's playing well, our D is playing well. We've got not just the top line scoring, we've got a bunch of different lines scoring for us."

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau admitted he was surprised his team swept the Jets, who were hosting NHL playoff hockey in Winnipeg for the first time since 1996.

"I never thought it would be 4-0 in my wildest dreams," he said. "I thought it would be a six- or seven-game series."

It was something Jets forward Blake Wheeler wished could have played out.

"We obviously would've loved to go longer than five games, but they're a good team and that's how you win in the post-season," he said.

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