At one point of tonight’s telecast, Glenn Healy commented that it was “Kesler Night in Canada”.
It’s hard to think where the Canucks would be had Ryan Kesler not found his scoring touch. Freed from the responsibility of going against last year’s Conn Smythe trophy winner, Jonathan Toews, Kes busted out in a big way and scored or assisted on 11 of the Canucks’ 14 goals this series.
As it stands, both coaches, Barry Trotz and Alain Vigneault, agree that he was the difference maker in this series.
“I said to him when I went by out there: ‘If you don’t play like that, we’re going to Game 7 and maybe we win the series,’ ” said Nashville coach Barry Trotz. “He was a force the whole series. We used multiple people against him — we used Mike Fisher a lot, we used Smithson, we used Weber and Suter against him, but he played to a level that few people can reach. He just had one of those series … the most incredible six games that we’ll probably see.”
And then, AV:
Well, he’s obviously decided to drive the bus,” Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said, “and he was our dominant force on the ice, played real strong at both ends of the rink, and we needed that performance — and we need it to continue.”
Ryan Kesler. How can it be anyone else? Kes willed this team to victory, not just in this game, but in this entire series. He set up both Canucks goals tonight.
Martin Erat. The Preds’ leading scorer in the regular season was a non-factor in game 6. 0 points, 0 shots, a minus-2 rating and a couple of minor penalties.
- 11. After a quiet 4-assist first round series, Kesler had 11 points (5 goals – 6 assists) in the second round – only a point short of the Canucks’ franchise record of 12 points in one playoff series (Pavel Bure, 1995 vs. St. Louis).
- 58.9. Kesler won 105 of 178 faceoffs in this series – a FO win percentage of 58.9%.
- 11. Roberto Luongo allowed just 11 goals against the Nashville Predators, almost half were off his own teammates and only 1 while the Preds were on the powerplay.
The Next Time
A bit of rest for the boys while they await the winner of the other Western Conference Semifinal series between the Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks.