3 - 2 Final - OT
  for this game

Kesler delivers in OT; Canucks take 2-1 lead

May 4, 2011 - 7:58 AM
Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Ryan Kesler drew a penalty in overtime, then scored his second power play goal of the game to lift the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 victory over Nashville.

The Canucks, after losing a double-overtime heartbreaker on Saturday, took a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series.

Kesler was in front of the net, screening Pekka Rinne, when he deflected a Mikael Samuelsson slap shot from the point under the Predators goaltender for the winner at the 10:45 mark.

"It was a great shot by Sammy. I just tried to get in front," said Kesler. "We were the harder working team tonight and we deserved that win."

Nashville captain Shea Weber was in the penalty box on a hooking charge after battling with Kesler on the side boards. Replays showed Kesler squeezing Weber's stick under his arm.

"He played a good game," Weber said. "They were the better team."

Chris Higgins also scored for the Canucks, who took one more step towards making the conference finals for the first time since 1994. Roberto Luongo made four of his 28 saves in overtime, stopping a couple of slap shots in the opening minute.

Rinne, peppered with 47 shots in the game, couldn't do much on the last one he saw. With Kesler standing at the top of the crease, he let the deflection go through his legs.

"He's a good goaltender over there," said Kesler. "We gotta do all the dirty things to get goals."

David Legwand scored a shorthanded goal in the first period to give Nashville a 1-0 lead, and Joel Ward tallied with 6:42 left in regulation to tie the game at 2-2.

Game 4 is scheduled for Thursday, also in Nashville.

Legwand stole the puck behind Vancouver's net midway through the first period, then scored moments later on a one-timer after Ryan Suter found him wide-open on the right side.

Rinne, who along with Luongo is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, turned aside 61 of the 63 shots he faced in the first two games of the series. But he found himself out of position on two Vancouver goals.

During a power play in the first minute of the second period, Rinne left the net and overplayed a move by Christian Ehrhoff on his right side. Ehrhoff found Kesler with a deft short pass into the crease for an easy goal to tie the game at 1-1.

Early in the third, Rinne was sprawled on his stomach after scrambling for a save and couldn't stop Higgins' high shot from the far side of the right circle, giving Vancouver a 2-1 lead 3:03 into the period.

Ward tied the game on a wraparound goal with 6:42 remaining in the period.

After a faceoff in the Vancouver zone, the puck was knocked behind the net and Ward carried it around to Luongo's right side. He snapped a shot through traffic that deflected off a skate and found the other side of the net to make it 2-2.

Game Notes

Nashville went 0-for-3 on the power play, while Vancouver was 2-for-4...The fifth-seeded Predators are in the second round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history...Vancouver, seeded No. 1 this year after posting the best record in the NHL, made the Stanley Cup Finals in 1994 but lost to the Rangers.