Kesler scores hat trick for Canucks win
Ryan Kesler found a positive spin to giving up a third-period
lead. The Vancouver Canucks’ meltdown gave him a chance to finally
complete his first NHL hat trick.
Kesler, who had 12 previous two-goal games, scored a power-play
goal 1:30 into overtime to lift the Canucks to a 3-2 victory over
the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night.
With Columbus defenseman Jan Hejda serving a boarding penalty,
Kesler took a pass from Daniel Sedin on a 2-on-1 break down low and
fired a quick shot over the outstretched pad of goalie Mathieu
”It just felt good to get it off my back,” said Kesler, who
has three other two-goal games this season. ”I was sniffing for a
while to get that third one, not only this year but last
Roberto Luongo made 28 saves, and Sedin extended his point
streak to nine games on the winning goal as Vancouver improved to
7-1-1 its last nine games.
But the real story was Kesler, who opened the scoring late in
the first period, put the Canucks ahead on a breakaway midway
through the second, and ending things with his 15th goal of the
season in overtime.
”He certainly was the best player on the ice,” Columbus coach
Scott Arniel said. ”Sometimes he gets overshadowed by other
players on the team but his speed and his skill are real
Tom Sestito tied it with his first NHL goal and point on a power
play 7:34 into the third period, parking his 6-foot-5, 228-pound
frame atop the crease and deflecting Mike Commodore’s low point
shot past Luongo. Derick Brassard also scored, and Garon finished
with 27 saves for the Blue Jackets, who have two wins in 10 games
Columbus rallied for a second straight game to earn a point
before losing in overtime.
”We’ve shown there’s a lot of heart on this team, and we’re
right there,” Sestito said. ”It’s close, and hopefully we start
getting two points.”
Kesler opened the scoring with 22.9 seconds left in the first
period, shortly after Luongo made a great right pad save off Derek
Dorsett on a 3-on-1. Kesler, robbed on a partial breakaway five
minutes earlier, took a drop pass from Alex Edler, and snapped a
20-foot wrist shot past Garon’s blocker.
”He’s a great shooter,” said Garon, who got the start after
replacing Steve Mason after two goals just 4:25 into Monday’s 3-2
overtime loss at Calgary.
Brassard tied it after a turnover created a 2-on-1 down low with
Rick Nash, but Kesler added his second two minutes later. This time
the puck bounced over Rostislav Klesla’s stick in his end, sending
Kesler in alone.
”The second one was kind of luck,” Kesler said. ”It did seem
like the puck was magnetized to my stick. It’s one of those games
you feel good out there.”
Columbus had two great chances to tie it early in the third. But
Kesler made a diving pokecheck to take a great chance away from
Brassard in the slot 90 seconds into the period, and Jakub Voracek
shot a backhander off the post on a breakaway after deking Luongo
to the ice 30 seconds later.
The Blue Jackets tied it when their 29th-ranked power-play unit
connected. Columbus was held without a shot on its first two
advantages, but needed only 10 seconds on its third when Sestito
was left alone in front.
”It was a big relief,” said Sestito, playing his third game
this season and seventh in his NHL career. ”It’s my first one, and
it feels a little better that it’s one to help the team.”
NOTES: Columbus LW Kristian Huselius returned after missing 22
games because of a high ankle sprain. … Klesla played his 500th
NHL game, all with Columbus. … Dorsett left the game midway
through the second period with what Arniel labeled a lower-body
injury, and will be re-evaluated before Thursday’s game in
Edmonton. … Sedin has four goals and nine assists during his