Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Kesler Leads Vancouver to 3-2 Overtime Win Over Nashville
Ryan Kesler scored two goals, including the game winner in overtime, to power the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators and take a 2-1 series lead in the Western Conference semifinal match.
Kesler had been held scoreless in his nine prior postseason games this season and broke out with his first goal one minute into the second period on the man advantage. He then assisted on Chris Higgins goal 3:03 into the third period that gave the Canucks the lead. Kesler's goal at 10:45 in to overtime on the man advantage was the difference maker in the back and forth contest.
Kesler said, "It was finally good to get one. I didn't really change anything tonight. It was just me going out there and trying to work hard and do all the right things."
Nashville took the early lead at 10:18 in the first period on a shorthanded goal by David Legwand. After the Predators fell behind on two consecutive Canuck goals, Joel Ward tied the game to send it into overtime with 6:42 left on the clock.
The tremendous goalie battle between Robero Luongo and Pekka Rinne continued. Luongo came out on top stopping 28 of 30 Predator shots. Rinne actually had a better game as he stopped all but three of the 47 shots that he faced, many in an acrobatic manner.
The game turned on a hooking call against Shea Weber 10:05 into overtime and Barry Trotz was not pleased, "I thought it was a little light considering all the other stuff that was going on. I've seen it, a sell by Kesler, he chicken-winged the stick and kept moving. If you look at it, Weber is pushing on him trying to pull the stick out of there. I've seen it before."
Weber was a little milder in his comments, "I think they called a good playoff style hockey game, It's unfortunate that a call like that cost us the game."
Pekka Rinne also got into the mix, "There were probably a few a little bit questionable calls tonight, and it cost us. But it's a game. It's hockey."
Trotz admitted that the loss may have changed the complexion of the series, "I don't know if it will tilt it their way. They'll grab the momentum and it's our job to grab it right back."
David Legwand sounded ready to move on, "We move forward. We've got to win Thursday night."
The Predators lost Steve Sullivan to a "lower body injury" with 9:42 left in the opening period and he did not return. He was officially listed as day to day and will receive further evaluation in the morning.
The Predators will practice at noon on Wednesday to prepare for Thursday's game five which will be at 7:30 p.m. at the Bridgestone Arena.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass