Nucks Ryan Kesler plays all the right notes in Music City

Canucks finish off trip with big win

There’s something about Ryan Kesler and Nashville that turns him into a monster for the Vancouver Canucks.

It could be the horrendous yellow jerseys, perhaps the country music or even maybe that Tennessee moonshine – but whatever it is the Canucks should bottle it up.

Kesler was the best player on the ice in the Canucks 3-1 win over Nashville on Tuesday and he’s now quietly seventh in the NHL in goals with 14.

The night harkened back to the Western Conference semi-final in 2011 when #17 put the Canucks on his back and it’s really the last time Kesler looked like a dominant player.

But it wasn’t just Kesler that came to play against the Preds, it was a team effort and a perfect road game from the Canucks. Sure, Nashville might have been playing without their number one goalie and top defenseman but a win is a win.

Here are a few of the players who upped their game to secure the win:

Ryan Kesler

As mentioned before, Ryan Kesler was outstanding against Nashville and he wasn’t even playing a regular shift with the Sedins. He and David Booth had some decent chemistry at different points of the game and they formed a decent second line with Chris Higgins.

Kesler had a pair of goals but he most importantly he was hitting. And when Kesler hits that usually means he’s into the game.

Kesler was outstanding against Nashville

Kesler was outstanding against Nashville

He led the Canucks with three hits, had five shots and was credited with two takeaways.

Another thing I liked about his game was the way he controlled the front of the net, especially on Vancouver’s power plays. Great stuff from Kesler in this one.

Roberto Luongo

The one goal he allowed was a bit of stinker on a bad rebound but Luongo was perfect the rest of the way. One of the turning points in the game was a huge stop in the first period he made when two Predator players were all alone as Tanev and Hamhuis were lost behind the net.

Luongo also did a good job selling contact, drawing two penalties and giving the Canucks more time to work on the power play, which looked dangerous all night.

Bottom line, he outplayed the opposing goalie and gave the Canucks a chance to win.

Mike Santorelli

It’s obvious Tortorella just loves this guy. Santorelli played more than any other forward and was used both in between the Sedins and on the second line.

While I don’t think he’s a great fit with the Sedins because he doesn’t have much finish and lacks size, I thought he did a good job cycling and didn’t seem out of place.

The guy works hard, he picked up three shots and is solid defensively.

Ideally, I think he’s the perfect third line centre for this team but with Burrows out and guys struggling he’s done a nice job filling in some of the offensive holes.

Jason Garrison

I have no idea why this guy wasn’t a permanent fixture on the power play earlier this year but thank god Tortorella has finally realized he belongs there. Garrison picked up a pair of assists but had nearly six minutes of time on the power play and used his cannon to fire out six shots.

It’s the perfect role for Garrison and one that he seems to be getting more comfortable with. He’s an absolute key to the power play and it’s nice to see him going again.

The Canucks return home, which could be a good or a bad thing, for a very important game against the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday. (Hopefully there is no first game back from a road trip letdown that all of us Nucks fans are used to)

Phoenix is one point up on the Canucks with three games in hand so winning in regulation is huge for Vancouver.

Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. on Sportsnet.


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About Ben Lypka

Straight outta South Central Delta, BC, Ben's been a sports nut for as long as he can remember. With experience covering the Olympic Games and reporting on sporting events in BC and Alberta, he hopes to bring a unique perspective to the NWSB! You can catch him on twitter too! Connect with Ben today!
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