Kesler powers Canucks
NASHVILLE — Ryan Kesler broke a tie with a power-play goal at 7:28 of the third period, and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Nashville Predators, 4-2, last night to take a 3-1 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series.
Christian Ehrhoff scored a power-play goal and had two assists, Kesler also had two assists, and Alexander Edler had a goal. Henrik Sedin notched his first points in the series with two assists and an empty-net goal with 20.6 seconds left.
The Canucks, the Presidents’ Trophy winners for the NHL’s best regular-season record, can close out the series tomorrow night in Game 5 in Vancouver.
Joel Ward and Cody Franson each had a goal and an assist for Nashville. The Predators lost consecutive games for the first time this postseason.
Kesler scored his second straight winner with a power-play goal off a penalty he drew.
This time, Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter yanked him down with an arm around his neck for a holding call, and Kesler scored 1:07 later with a beautiful goal. Kesler sliced through a couple of Predators and beat Pekka Rinne with a wrister from the slot. In Game 3, Kesler scored in overtime.
Nashville tried to rally, finally getting Rinne to the bench with about 30 seconds left. Vancouver took its timeout with 29.3 seconds left, and Nashville couldn’t hold the puck in off the ensuing faceoff. Sedin clinched it with his first goal this postseason.
The Predators opened with plenty of energy with yet another sellout crowd armed with T-shirts to paint the arena gold and fan noisemakers.
But Vancouver has been outshooting and outskating Nashville in taking both games in Music City. The Canucks went up, 1-0, with 4:56 left in the first as Ehrhoff scored with Alex Burrows screening Rinne at the edge of the crease.