Ryan Kesler Returns… and his comeback ends in a 4-1 loss to the Golden Knights

ryankesler Photo by Anaheim Ducks

To fans… This game is all about the return of #KesBoss and Ryan Kesler finally healthy to officially be back in the game.

The Anaheim Ducks haven’t had much luck or success with being successful when playing the Vegas Golden Knights… The Ducks hoped that the return of Ryan Kesler could be the piece to break through and get a win over Vegas but wasn’t able to capitalize from this one. After missing training camp, pre-season, and 37 games in season the way Ryan Kesler played well at least to me there was no clear or obvious weakness in his debut after about 6-7 months of recovery. Tonight’s game many of the fans clear focus was the celebration of Ryan Kesler’s return back and into the lineup.

The Ducks will go without winger Corey Perry, he is out with a lower-body injury and the Ducks hope that his return will be coming back soon.


John Gibson will be in goal for the Ducks. I have come up with a math equation that defines Gibson. 

Mental toughness + Unbelievable athleticism + Stellar goaltending = JOHN GIBSON

Game Highlights:

The Anaheim Ducks go into this game knowing that they havn’t had any success when playing the Golden Knights, there is no Corey Perry/ Scorey Perry in the lineup (one of the Ducks’ players that is dirty and likes getting under players skin), and knowing that their goalie John Gibson is on fire, in the zone, has the mental toughness going on lately, and know that they need to play aggressive and mean against this Vegas team.

img_20171227_220338653837777.jpg Photo by Anaheim Ducks

Just 2 minutes into the game Rickard Rakell hammers the puck at the net… AND ANAHEIM DUCKS GOAL!!!! SCORED BY THE #67 RICKARD RAKELL!!! ASSISTED BY THE #33 JAKOB SILFVERBERG AND ASSISTED BY THE #26 BRANDON MONTOUR!!! Rakell gets a feed from Silfverberg and he just hammers the puck into the net. The Ducks are in the lead early on in the game, it’s 1-0 Ducks.

Click here to see Rakell score: Rakell hammers one home

The Anaheim Ducks are on a JMG Power Play!!! James Neal is sent to the penalty box for slashing Rickard Rakell. Goaltender Malcom Subban made sure and denied the Ducks from a JMG power play goal. Penalty is killed and James Neal is out of the penalty box.

What a save by John Gibson. He is one of those goalies that shows what he is saying to the players with the incredible saves he makes and this is one of them: Gibson turns away Neal with BIG save

Now the post of the net can be 1 of 2 things, it is there that helps the puck go in the net which makes it hard for goalies to get a handle on saving it. So the post can either be you friend or your worst enemy at times. This time the post was not kind to John Gibson when the Vegas Golden Knights goal. It’s former Duck, Shea Theodore with the goal. Theodore had time and space and takes the shot on net and the puck hits the post and goes into the goal. It was one of those shots that was nearly impossible for John Gibson to save that one. We are now tied up at 1-1.

Click here to see Theodore’s goal: Theodore gets one past Gibson

This being Kesler’s NHL season debut and the face-off circle rule he got thrown out of the circle a few times. That will be something he will need to work on perfecting. Anyway we are tied up as the Ducks head into the locker room. They looked good and making a bunch of good plays they just need to keep that up and focus on playing the full 60. They got 40 minutes to go all they need to do is keep emotion, physicality and momentum up to help them get back on top in this game.

 Photo by Anaheim Ducks

Gibson gets the Ducks off to a great start in the second period with a big glove save. Then things take a turn for the worst. Let me remind you 90% -99% of the time the guys in black and white tend to be blind and just standing there like a zebra watching plays that should be penalized but don’t and penalize plays that is hard to see the reason of the call in the playback of the penalty.

Penalty killing time when it shouldn’t be… Kevin Bieksa is off to the box with an interference penalty, for interferring with David Perron. Gibson says it’s GIBBY TIME which basically is that he shutdown and denied the Golden Knight from scoring a power play goal.

Just a few minutes later the Ducks go on the penalty kill once more as Andrew Cogliano is off to the penalty box for hooking Jonathan Marchessault. It’s GIBBY TIME again, shot after shot is denied by Gibson. Penalty Killed.

After the penalty is killed… and what a save by John Gibson. Here is a look at the save he made when he makes a shutdown save: Gibson Stones Tuch

The Anaheim Ducks go on another JMG Power Play as Cody Eakin is off to the penalty box for roughing against Ryan Getzlaf. That was another power play the the Ducks couldn’t capitalize from. Penalty Killed.

Just seconds after the penalty to Eakin is killed, the Vegas Golden Knights goal. It’s Cody with the goal. He went five-hole and it just goes right through John Gibson. The Golden Knights take the lead, it’s 2-1 Vegas.

Click here to see Eakin’s goal: Eakin goes five-hole on Gibson

In the last few minutes remaining in the period, Ryan Kesler recieves a hard hit into the glass by Jon Merrill. We know Kesler is a beast, he has taken his first hit of the season in his NHL season debut.

The Ducks go into the locker room trailing by 1. All the Ducks need to do is go out in the third period and be aggressive and deny entry to the zone and keep Malcom Subban busy, busy enough that he looses sight of the puck and let some fly by helping the Ducks get back on top.

 Photo by Anaheim Ducks

Just seconds into the third period, Vegas Golden Knights goal. It’s scored by former Anaheim Duck William Karlsson. With a turnover by Josh Manson and a puck just laying there on open ice he gets the puck and in the net and past John Gibson it goes. Vegas now in a much bigger lead, it’s 3-1 Vegas.

Click here to see former Duck score: Karlsson gets a turnover and gets it past Gibson

Those blind zebras drive me crazy not making obvious calls, it’s so rediculous. There was no call made when Ondrej Kase gets tripped by James Neal, and it was a very clear and obvious trip, one where probably a 8 or 9 year old could tell you that Neal did indeed trip Ondrej Kase.

Time is winding down we are now at 3:20 minutes to go and off to the bench goes John Gibson. Whenever Vegas got the puck they shot it at the empty net evey chance they got and with just 1-minute remaining former Anaheim Duck David Perron shoots the puck into the empty net. They now lead the Ducks 4-1.

Click here to see former Duck score: Vegas gets a empty-netter by Perron

John Gibson back in net for the remaining minute. With not enough time to score 3 goal the Anaheim Ducks walk away with a 4-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Ryan Kesler’s debut was not the comeback that many hoped for but the season isn’t over that means there is still time for him to shine with the remaining 4 months left in the season before playoffs. KesBoss your time is coming and we are all rooting for you, you’re first goal of the season is just around the corner I just feel that moment is coming for you.

Ducks Logo

Thoughts on the game from the Anaheim Ducks players and coaches

Ryan Getzlaf (on the game): They raised their level of play and we didn’t Most of all, we quit playing. Simple as that. We didn’t come out and play with the urgency we needed to after those first 12, 14 minutes of the hockey game, which is weird. Coming off these breaks, sometimes you think your starts are going to be a little rough, but we came out and played hard. For whatever reason, we got away from what we wnated to do.

Ryan Getzlaf (on the Golden Knights): They played well. They are where they are in the standings because they play hard. They’ve bought into the team game they’ve needed to play.

Ryan Kesler (on his season debut): It felt good. A little rusty. I said my reads were probably going to be a little off, and they were. As the game went on, I settled in. It was nice to get Silvy [Jakob Silfverberg] and Cogs [Andrew Cogliano] back together. After that, I thought we put together a couple good shifts.

Ryan Kesler (on the team’s overall performance): We were sloppy. Our structure wasn’t there. We’re playing a bit soft. We need to start playing mean.

Hampus Lindholm (on Vegas’ goals): It was on us. We got a little bit sloppy with the puck. The game got away from us.

Hampus Lindholm (on turnovers): The second goal was my mistake. We gave them easier goals. When you play hard and you keep playing hard for 60 minutes, you’re going to get rewarded. We kind of quit when things didn’t go our way. We need to be better than that.

Head Coach Randy Carlyle (on turnovers): We got away from the things that have made us successful. We started to turn the puck over and we got spread out. In the second and third, we were making 50-foot and 60-foot passes where in the first period we were supporting the puck and making 10-to-15-foot passes. They did a much better job controlling the game after that point. They frusterated us. We found ways to self-destruct.

Head Coach Randy Carlyle (on the game): We weren’t very good in the second period and didn’t get much better in the third. We were pushing for the extra goal. All they did was sit back. They had five guys back and we played into their hands. We were too far spread out, didn’t support the puck and didn’t get inside enough. We were standing still a lot. That’s one of the things you scratch your head about. We play a decent first 20 minutes and the rest of the game kind of got away from us.

1- Vegas Golden Knights

Thoughts on the game from the Vegas Golden Knights players and coaches

Erik Haula (on being first in the Pacific Division and Western Conference): We wanted to get a good start after the break, that’s important and a huge win. That’s a great team [the Ducks] over there and I’m sure they are going to have a really good second half. It’s huge, big win.

Erik Haula (on the team’s foundation): Our team has everybody and we need everybody. That means whoever is in the pipes and we’ve had seen that all year, whoever has been in there has done a great job. It is always a team effort and I always keep talking  about how it is great when everybody succeeds.

Shea Theodore (on bouncing back after a bad first period): We do a really good job of coming back in and regrouping. We know what our strengths are. That break in between [periods] we come in and we talk about it a little bit and focus up, and I feel like that is definately a good thing about our team.

Shea Theodore (on what has changed for him becoming more offensive): I just think my confidence. I feel like when I get the puck, I’m thinking shot a little bit more and I feel like I’m just kind of getting lucky on some of the goals.

Head Coach Gerard Gallant (on humility being part of the team’s success): One game at a time and that’s a big thing for us. We try and battle and work hard every night and tonight we found a way. We didn’t start the game off great. I thought the first eight minutes we were sloppy, but after that I thought we played a great game and a great road game. We found a way to get two big points.

Head Coach Gerard Gallant (on Malcom Subban’s goaltending performance): Real solid. He played solid. He moved the puck real well through our defensemen. So again, every time we seem to get a good goaltending performance on the road and that’s the reason why we can win some hockey games.


Blog post coming up next… Anaheim Ducks look to estinguish the Calgary Flames in Ducks vs. Flames on 12-29-17


LET’S GO DUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Please feel free to leave your comments and thought below in the comment section.


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Sources: Anaheim Ducks Player News- Ducks Daily and Twitter @AnaheimDucks

Sources are all by The Anaheim Ducks/ anaheimducks.com

Source: Anaheim Ducks- “Postgame Quotes – December 27 vs. Vegas”

Source Adam Brady- “Recap: Ducks Can’t Handle Vegas in Kesler’s Return”

Photos by The Anaheim Ducks


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