WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — The Anaheim Ducks wiped out the Winnipeg Jets in front of another raucous whiteout crowd.
Ryan Kesler scored twice in the third period and Anaheim beat Winnipeg 5-2 on Wednesday night to sweep the Western Conference first-round series.
“Obviously it’s a building that I know, so it’s nice to come back here and be successful,” said Kesler, who played two seasons in Winnipeg for the Manitoba Moose in Vancouver’s farm system.
“Amazing, especially when they’re heckling at you and they’re booing you. Obviously, I wanted to silence this crowd tonight, and that’s what we did.”
Andrew Cogliano, Emerson Etem and Sam Vatanen — into an empty net — also scored, and Frederik Andersen made 25 saves. The Ducks are the first team to advance to the second round.
“I never thought it would be 4-0 in my wildest dreams,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I thought it would be a six, or seven-game series.”
Anaheim will face Calgary or Vancouver in the second round. Calgary leads that series 3-1.
“We didn’t come here to win one series,” Kesler said. “We came here for the whole thing.”
Bryan Little and Mark Stuart scored for Winnipeg.
The Jets/Atlanta Thrashers franchise remains without a playoff victory through 15 seasons of its existence. The only previous playoff appearance was in 1999 in Atlanta, a sweep at the hands of the New York Rangers.
“They scored key goals at key times and made big plays when they needed to, and we couldn’t get one to go,” Jets captain Andrew Ladd, said. “It’s an empty feeling, you don’t know what to do. No one said winning the Cup or playing in the playoffs was easy.”
Amid more chants of “Katy Perry! Katy Perry!” from Jets fans, Ducks star Corey Perry had two more assists to reach six points in the series.
“We’ve got All-Stars, we’ve got all-world players in our dressing room and everyone just feeds off of it,” Etem said. “We’ve got a great mix of older veterans and young guys and the younger guys just feed off of Kes, and obviously Corey and Ryan (Getzlaf). They set the tone each and every game, you know they’re going to show up and it’s our job to follow them.”
Winnipeg opened the scoring Little’s power-play goal with 3:34 left in the first period. Anaheim tied it on Etem’s goal with 2:08 left in the period.
After an ineffective Winnipeg power play in which it failed to get a shot on goal, the Ducks used more of their slick skill to take the lead. Hampus Lindholm’s drop pass to Perry got the puck in the hands of Anaheim’s best playmaker, and he the Jets’ Dustin Byfuglien and fed Cogliano for the go-ahead goal at 12:55 of the second.
For the first time all series, the Jets didn’t take a lead into the second intermission. It didn’t matter, as they couldn’t get into any third-period rhythm and gave up a goal to Kesler at the 6:41 mark to fall behind 3-1.
MTS Centre was full of nervous energy and generally quiet for most of the third, until the TV timeout at the 10:24 mark. Three seconds later the place erupted when Stuart’s point shot beat Andersen to cut it to 3-2.
Kesler made it 4-2 on a 2-on-1 rush with 4:49 left.
“Anaheim was better than we were in this series,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. “There’s luck in a game maybe in the series, but over a potential seven-game series the best team almost always wins, and they were better than we were.”
NOTES: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in attendance, wearing a white Team Canada sweater. He tweeted: “Wow — what an atmosphere. Happy to be part of the WPGWhiteOut tonight.” … Jets fans serenaded balding Anaheim captain Getzalf with chants of “Captain Rogaine! Captain Rogaine!”
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