The Stat Line Of The Night — 5/3/11 — Ryan Kesler
After scoring a career-high 41 goals during the regular season, Ryan Kesler has seen his production drop dramatically in the playoffs. In fact, heading into Game 3 of their second-round series against the Nashville Predators, the Canucks’ forward had failed to record a single goal in nine post-season games. Many critics were beginning to wonder whether Kesler had lost his touch, but it appears as though he regained it just in time to become the hero last night.
With the Canucks trailing by a goal, Kesler got open in front of the Preds’ net and buried a Christian Ehrhoff pass for his first goal of the playoffs. In the third period his hard work would help set up Chris Higgins’ go-ahead goal, however, the Canucks were unable to hold onto the lead late in the game, as the Predators Joel Ward tied things up on a wrap around with just under seven minutes remaining. That gave Kesler yet another opportunity to step up and be the hero, and he did just that, deflecting home a Mikael Samuelsson point shot 10:45 into overtime to give the Canucks the 3-2 victory and a 2-1 series lead.
The win was a big one for the Canucks, who regained home-ice advantage after surrendering it to the Predators with a Game 2 overtime loss. Game 4 is set for Thursday in Nashville, and if the Canucks hope to silence the raucous Preds fans once again, they will need Kesler to be a factor once again. He was a huge factor in Game 3, recording two goals and an assist. As a result, he earns our “Stat Line of the Night” for Tuesday, May 3, 2011.