An eventful night for the Canucks forward in their 3-2 overtime win in Game 3 against the Nashville Predators. He scored his first goal of the playoffs in the second period, on the power play, to tie the game at 1-1. In the third, his drive to the net helped draw Preds goalie Pekka Rinne(notes) out of position, allowing Chris Higgins(notes) to blast home a shot for a 2-1 lead, with Kesler picking up an assist. In overtime, he drew a hooking penalty on Shea Weber(notes) and then tipped home Mikael Samuelsson's(notes) point shot for his second goal of the night and a 2-1 series lead for Vancouver.
The game-winning goal would go in off of Ryan Malone's(notes) skate 24 seconds later, but the third-period game-tying snipe by Stamkos off a Washington Capitals turnover was arguably the key goal of the game, as the Bolts won 4-3 and took a commanding 3-0 lead in the series.
No. 3 Star: Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
The Predators keeper was drawn out of position on two of the Canucks' goals, but continued his stellar play otherwise with 44 saves against Vancouver — including 15 in the first and 15 in the third.
Honorable mention: Joel Ward(notes) tied Game 3 with a power move around the net and a puck off a skate in front, giving him four goals in the playoffs for Nashville. David Legwand(notes) had a shorthanded tally in the first. … Sean Bergenheim(notes) scored his fifth for the Lightning, opening the scoring in the first period. Vinny Lecavalier also notched his fifth in the second period on a feed from Marty St. Louis. … Alex Ovechkin(notes) had a strong night with his fifth goal (and the Caps' first power-play goal of the series) and an assist on Mike Knuble's(notes) second-period tally. … John Carlson(notes) scored his first of the playoffs. … Dwayne Rolson made 29 saves, while Michal Neuvirth(notes) made some four-star stops in the third for the Caps.
Did you know? During the singing of the national anthem, blocks of fans passed a large American flag around a portion of the lower bowl of the arena in Tampa. (AP)
Dishonorable mention: Daniel and Henrik Sedin(notes) combined for 1 assist and were a minus-4. … Nicklas Backstrom(notes) was scoreless, and now has 2 assists in eight playoff games. … The Capitals had an apparent goal taken away on a too many men on the ice penalty — on a power play. … Finally, frustrating sequence all around in overtime, as Kevin Bieksa(notes) was hit from behind (no call) and Shea Weber was flagged for a questionable hooking penalty that led to the Canucks' game winner:
Conn Smythe Watch: 1. Martin St. Louis(notes), Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Danny Briere(notes), Philadelphia Flyers; 3. Ryane Clowe(notes), San Jose Sharks; 4. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators; 5. Pavel Datsyuk(notes), Detroit Red Wings; 6. Nathan Horton(notes), Boston Bruins; 7. Dwayne Roloson(notes), Tampa Bay Lightning; 8. Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks; 9. Vinny Lecavalier, Tampa Bay Lightning; 10. Claude Giroux(notes), Philadelphia Flyers.