VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Ryan Kesler of old appears to be back and, if not carrying the Vancouver Canucks on his back as he did a couple of seasons ago, giving them big lifts.
The Canucks center and former Selke Trophy winner got the crowd and his teammates into the game when he dropped the gloves with Boston Bruins right winger Jarome Iginla 6:24 into the first period Saturday night at the Rogers Arena.
It set the tone for a hard-fought 6-2 Canucks win over the Bruins, who won the 2011 Stanley Cup in Game 7 on the same ice surface.
Iginla looked like he dislocated a finger in the fight and didn't return until after the second period had begun.
Kesler was also at his impish best, whacking and chirping at Boston defenseman and captain Zdeno Chara, getting involved with his rival pest left winger Brad Marchand of the Bruins and getting under the skin of Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask.
There were not a lot of shots in the game, but the first two periods were played with intensity, with solid saves at both ends before the Canucks ran away with it in the third.
The Canucks jumped ahead 1-0 late in the first on a slap shot from center-ice by right winger Jannik Hansen, the puck deflecting off the shaft of Chara's stick, then skipping between the legs of Rask.
Right winger Reilly Smith pulled the Bruins even at 4:11 of the second, at which point Canucks coach John Tortorella called a timeout to rant at his club, which was being outshot 5-1 to that point in the period.
A minute and a half later, left winger David Booth streaked down the wing and beat Rask with a laser of a wrist shot to the glove side.
A little more than three minutes later, left winger Chris Higgins took advantage of a huge effort from right winger Mike Santorelli to bang in a rebound off the post to make it 3-1 at 5:31 of the second.
Defenseman Yannick Weber, making his second straight start after a 10-game stint in the minors, made it 4-1 1:34 into the third period with a hard shot from the point that chased Rask from the Boston goal.
Canucks captain Henrik Sedin made it 5-1 on a power play at 4:02 of the third, defenseman Chris Taven converted a short-handed 2-on-1 with Santorelli for a 6-1 lead and Smith added his second in the dying minutes.
With the victory, the Canucks tied the Anaheim Ducks for the longest win streak in the NHL this season at seven.
NOTES: The Bruins had a four-game winning streak heading into Saturday's game, the Canucks a six-game winning streak. ... The Canucks 6-0-0 start to December was the best for the month in franchise history. The last team to win their first six games in December was the Philadelphia Flyers in 2011. Philly won seven, then lost 6-0 to Boston. ... The Canucks penalty kill continues to be the league's stingiest, with a success rate of 89.9 per cent. ... During the six straight wins leading to Friday's game, the Center Henrik Sedin and his twin brother Daniel Sedin only accounted for a goal apiece of the Canucks' 18 goals for. ... The Bruins came into the game having had only 86 power plays, fewest in the NHL this season. ... Vancouver C Ryan Kesler and Boston RW Jarome Iginla fought once before Saturday night's bout, Feb. 3, 2006, at Calgary when Iginla was the Flames captain.