Kesler's 2 goals lead Canucks past Predators

Bucky Dent, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Ryan Kesler wore a lamp shade as though it were a hat in the Vancouver Canucks' locker room after Tuesday night's game.
It was an appropriate choice of head wear, because the centerman lit the lamp twice for the second straight contest.
His two third-period goals snapped a tie and lifted Vancouver to a 3-1 win over the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
"It's not about me," Kesler said. "It's about this five-man unit playing well and finding a way to win games. It was a battle, like it always seems to be in this rink, but we were able to get another win."
Kesler, whose two goals keyed the Canucks' 3-2 win Sunday at the Carolina Hurricanes, potted the tie-breaker at 7:37 of the third. He shoveled the rebound of defenseman Jason Garrison's shot off Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis and past goaltender Marek Mazanec.
With Predators right wing Patric Hornqvist in the penalty box serving a double minor for roughing and goalie interference, Kesler struck again at 14:15. He backhanded the rebound of Garrison's shot off the right goal post for his 14th goal of the season.
"I was just Johnny on the spot there," Kesler said.
That was all Vancouver (15-10-5) needed to close out its four-game road trip at 3-1-0 and improve its road record to 10-5-2, second-best in the NHL behind only the Chicago Blackhawks.
Goalie Roberto Luongo (12-8-5) notched 30 saves for the Canucks, keeping the team afloat for the first period and a half. Nashville (13-12-3) outshot Vancouver 18-8 over the game's first 30 minutes and 26 seconds, but couldn't take the lead.
"It was a typical tight-checking, low-scoring game like it usually is with these guys," Luongo said. "Kesler gave us a big boost when he popped those two goals in the third period. It's nice to see him play that way."
The Canucks appeared to find a rhythm during their first power play just past the midway point of the second period, peppering Mazanec with three quick shots and maintaining steady pressure, even though the Predators killed it off.
Vancouver initiated scoring at 15:24 as Brad Richardson notched his sixth goal on a rebound shot from an extreme angle to the right. It appeared to hit off Mazanec's right shoulder and flop into the net.
That lead lasted all of 30 seconds. Predators center Colin Wilson potted a rebound goal, his fifth of the year, after a nice setup from right winger Patric Hornqvist left him with an open net at the goalmouth.
But that would be it for the feeble Nashville offense, which has scored just three goals so far on an 0-2-1 homestand.
"It is frustrating," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "We've played really well. We should have had some points against Philadelphia, and in our first 30 minutes tonight. Vancouver really didn't have anything going. We need to get points, plain and simple."
Kesler and the Canucks didn't allow it, finishing their successful road trip with a solid third period.
"I thought the second half of the game, we started playing," Vancouver coach John Tortorella said. "Our power play comes through again with a big goal. We're trying to gain some traction and this helped us."
Mazanec (5-5-1) finished with 30 saves, but allowed more than two goals in a game for the first time since Nov. 15 in Pittsburgh, a span of nine starts.
NOTES: Nashville D Shea Weber (eye) missed his second consecutive game after being hit with a shot Thursday night in the second period of a 3-0 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Predators D Kevin Klein (foot) also sat out and might not return until a Dec. 12 home game with the Dallas Stars. ... Vancouver RW Alexandre Burrows is out for four to six weeks after suffering a broken jaw in Sunday's 3-2 win at Carolina when he was struck by a puck. ... Predators G Marek Mazanec was named Rookie of the Month in the NHL on Tuesday. Mazanec, who is filling in for starter Pekka Rinne (hip infection), went 5-4-1 with a 2.00 goals-against-average and a .932 save percentage in November. ... The Canucks, who played 17 of their first 30 games on the road, will start a five-game homestand Friday night against the Phoenix Coyotes.

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