The Blackhawks and Ducks found out early Monday morning that the two would square off in the Western Conference Final, and they haven't wasted any time mixing it up.
A day after Andrew Shaw iterated, "the bigger they are, the harder they fall," regarding Anaheim's size and grit, Ryan Kesler decided to sweeten the pot.
"A good team, fast team," Kesler said after Tuesday's morning skate. "A beatable team, though."
The Blackhawks are no stranger to Kesler, who faced Chicago in three consecutive postseasons from 2009-2011 with the Vancouver Canucks.
The Blackhawks got the best of the Canucks in two of those three meetings, including 2010 which ended in a Stanley Cup victory. Vancouver got revenge the following year, but fell a game short of winning the Stanley Cup.
The Ducks acquired the 30-year-old center last offseason to strengthen their depth up the middle and take away some of the pressure from captain Ryan Getzlaf. They knew his skill set could bring them closer to their ultimate goal of winning a championship.
But perhaps what really intrigued Anaheim is Kesler's ability to provide an edge on and off the ice, and do so without sacrificing other parts of his game.
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Kesler has nine points (four goals, five assists) in as many postseason games so far, including a game-winning goal in Anaheim's close-out game against the Winnipeg Jets in the first round.
The production is there, and always has been.
But if getting under the skin of an opponent like the Blackhawks helps the Ducks advance even further in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, mission accomplished.
- Corey Perry did not participate in the team's morning skate Tuesday, but coach Bruce Boudreau said it was "just a maintenance day. He'll be back on the ice next practice."