Nick Bonino assisted on the tying goal by Alexandre Burrows in the second period and got the only goal in the shootout in his return to Anaheim, helping the Vancouver Canucks beat the Ducks 2-1 on Sunday night.
"They come at you hard," Bonino said. "To beat them you have to play in their end, you can't let them come at you. We were solid tonight. We had a lot of shots and a lot of chances."
It was the first meeting between the teams since the June 27 trade that brought Kesler to the Ducks and sent Bonino and defenceman Luca Sbisa to Vancouver. Kesler spent his first 11 NHL seasons with the Canucks, helping them get to the Stanley Cup finals in 2011 with 41 goals and winning the Frank Selke Trophy that season as the NHL's best defensive forward.
"It was exciting," Kesler said. "I hadn't seen most of those guys since last year. It was intense. It was fun. I'm an intense guy and I'm a competitor. I was trying my hardest out there."
Kesler had two shots on net, misfired on four others and won 14 of 21 faceoffs — including one against Bonino that led directly to Anaheim's goal. Bonino also had two shots on net and won 10 of 21 faceoffs while blocking three shots.
It was the Ducks' second loss in three nights at home against a club they won all five meetings against last season. The Arizona Coyotes beat them 3-2 in a shootout on Friday.
"It's frustrating," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We got outplayed the last two periods, so some would say we were lucky to get one point. But on the other hand, we persevered and got the one point. When you get that close, you definitely want two. So it doesn't feel anywhere as good as if we had won the shootout."
The Ducks, who led the league in goals last season en route to their second straight Pacific Division title, have just 11 in regulation over their last eight games. Defenceman Sami Vatanen had Anaheim's only goal against Eddie Lack, who finished with 28 saves and got lucky twice in the tiebreaker as Jakob Silfverberg hit the crossbar and Kesler rang one off the left post.
"Eddie's a good goaltender," coach Willie Desjardins said. "He was so good in preseason, and it was too bad for him the way he started out. I knew we would need him tonight and he played great. It was great for him to get the win."
Frederik Andersen stopped 34 shots for the Ducks. The loss snapped their six-game winning streak against Vancouver, which included a five-game sweep last season that ended with a 3-0 victory in goalie John Gibson's NHL debut. Gibson is sidelined at least six weeks because of a groin injury.
Corey Perry, who leads Anaheim with 11 goals, missed his third straight game because of the flu. Francois Beauchemin also was out with the flu, and fellow defenceman Cam Fowler was scratched for the first time this season due to a lower body injury that occurred on Friday against Arizona.
Just 3 seconds after Dan Hamhuis was sent off for hooking William Karlsson, Vatanen opened the scoring at 2:37 of the second period with a 35-foot wrist shot that beat Lack to the stick side after Kesler won a faceoff from Bonino deep in the zone.
The goal came on Anaheim's only power play against a penalty-killing unit that had yielded just two goals in 26 short-handed situations over the Canucks' previous eight games.
"The game was in our hands coming out of the first period, but we ended up giving them a lot of momentum in the second and third periods," Ducks centre Andrew Cogliano said. "They outplayed us. It didn't have to do with anyone missing. They just outworked us."
Burrows tied it at 11:49 of the second on a deflection after Hamhuis one-timed a carom off the boards at the left point. Each of Burrows' last 12 goals have come on the road since his last one at home on April 6, 2013 against Calgary. That stretch includes the two he scored at San Jose during the playoffs two seasons ago.
NOTES: Canucks D Kevin Bieksa and Ducks LW Patrick Maroon dropped the gloves a mere 3 seconds after the opening faceoff. ... Kesler will get a chance to see and hear firsthand how much the Vancouver fans miss him when the five-game season series resumes on Nov. 20. ... Canucks LF Brandon DeFazio was so excited about making his NHL debut, he jumped out onto the ice for the pregame warmups ahead of Lack. It is customary for the starting goalie to lead the team out of the dressing room. ... Sbisa was scratched because of an injury that occurred in Saturday's game. ... Bonino leads Vancouver with seven goals, including back-to-back game-winners this week against Colorado and San Jose. His total is the highest among players who haven't scored on a power play.