Behind Ryan Kesler’s four goals, the Vancouver Canucks have won
consecutive games for the first time in more than a month.
Now Kesler and the Canucks hope to extend that success to Rogers
Arena, where they have mostly struggled going into a five-game
homestand which begins Friday night against the Phoenix
“We played well enough to win back-to-back games the last couple
weeks, but it didn’t happen,” captain Henrik Sedin told the team’s
official website. “We feel better about ourselves now.”
Two nights after scoring twice and getting the game-winner in a
3-2 victory over Carolina, Kesler did the same Tuesday with two
third-period goals from close range in a 3-1 win over
“It was a battle and there wasn’t a lot of room out there, but
we found a way to win again, and that’s what we need to keep
doing,” Kesler said. “You’ve got to fight to get to those tough
areas and we did tonight.”
Vancouver (15-10-5) closed a 3-1-0 road trip by posting two
straight wins for the first time since a four-game run Oct. 22-28,
and now is after similar success at home. The Canucks have lost
eight of 11 at Rogers Arena and haven’t won consecutive home games
since their first two of the season.
The recent hot streak gives Kesler a team-high 14 goals after
scoring four last season when he was limited to 17 games due to a
broken foot and shoulder injury.
He’s played in every game this season, and the Canucks are back
to leaning on him. They’re 8-1-1 when Kesler has scored and 6-0-0
when he has at least two points.
“Kesler has been playing really well, he was probably our best
player tonight,” coach John Tortorella said after Tuesday’s win.
“He put us on his shoulders there and I thought led the way.”
More production out of Kesler on home ice could help the Canucks
build off the road trip. He has three goals and three assists in 13
home games, compared to 11 goals and five assists in 17 on the
Kesler is also after a goal in a third straight contest against
the Coyotes, who lead the Canucks by a point for eighth place in
the Western Conference and fourth in the Pacific Division.
Phoenix (16-8-4) has allowed at least four goals in five of its
last seven games, going 2-4-1.
The latest disappointment was Wednesday’s 4-1 loss at Calgary,
which evened Phoenix’s record two games into a four-game trip.
Defenseman Keith Yandle scored to give the Coyotes a lead in the
first period. He has goals in consecutive games and has never
scored in three straight in his eight-year career.
“I think we dominated that first period, so kind of unlucky to
come out tied 1-1,” Yandle said. “But at the same time, you have to
come out in the second with a little more jump. We knew they were
going to push back and we’ve got to do a better job there.”
The Coyotes allowed a power-play goal for the third straight
game, dropping their penalty kill to 76.9 percent, one of the worst
in the league.
The Canucks have allowed a league-low 11 power-play goals,
shutting down 89.0 percent of opponents’ chances. Their own 14.1
percent power-play mark has essentially canceled that out, though
they’ve scored on it in six straight games for the first time since
the 2008-09 season.
Phoenix won 3-2 in a shootout at home Nov. 5 in the teams’ lone
meeting after Vancouver took two of three last season.