NHL can't be happy with Kesler goal

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:46 AM ET

Ryan Kesler finally scored a playoff goal, then another, but it was the job he did with an opponent’s stick that was also key to Vancouver’s 3-2 victory over Nashville Tuesday.

The fine Canuck somehow managed to convince officials he was being violated by Shea Weber as the two battled along the boards halfway through the extra session. Weber, whose stick may have actually been held by Kesler, was inexplicably called for hooking. Forty seconds later, Kesler tipped in the winner.

The Canucks now lead the series 2-1, but the NHL can’t be pleased with the way Game 3 went down.

It was a good night for the league, as Music City hosted its first ever Round 2 playoff game, but it ended on a sour note - a whistle that should have never been blown on Weber.

POINT BLANK: Hockey fans are getting more than their money’s worth in the NHL playoffs this spring. Almost every night. When the Vancouver-Nashville game extended past three periods, it was the 19th time teams needed sudden death overtime to settle the score. In all of last year’s playoffs, there were only 18 OTs. Remember, we’re still early in Round 2 here ... Nashville G Pekke Rinne may be the best player in the playoffs so far. On Tuesday, he stopped 45 of 47 shots, many in stunning fashion. “I just wish more people in the East could have seen how good he was this year,” Predator Steve Sullivan told CBC’s Scott Oake. “Without him we are not in the playoffs. He’s definitely our MVP and our best player.” Don’t have to tell that to the Canucks.

CRASHIN’ AND BANGIN’: The stars were shining brightly in Florida Tuesday. But so were the Schmoes. Bolts’ Sean Bergenheim scored his fifth goal of the post-season. Veteran mucker Mike Knuble notched Washington’s first by pounding away at a loose puck, then didn’t get an assist but caused the distraction that gave Alex Ovechin the room to get another one a little later. “It’s a great spot to be as a player, you feel like your right in the middle of the action,” Knuble said of being near the blue paint to TSN’s Ryan Rishaug during the second intermission. “The puck’s got to get there eventually. Then it’s your job to hack and whack and kick and try to get it in.” Meanwhile, scoring the winner was another bullish player, Ryan Malone, who had the puck go in off his skate as he charged to the the net. Nothing fancy about the biggest goal of the game, that also stands as the biggest goal of a series loaded with stars. And scored by a Schmoe.

STARTS AND STOPS: Liked the way Glenn Healy portrayed the Predators ineptness in the second period. “What do these two guys have in common?” the CBC colorman said while cameras panned Nashville GM David Poile and Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo taking a swig of water at a break near the 17 minute mark. “No, it’s not the water. At this point in the period they had both faced the same number of shots.” The Preds wound up testing Luongo four times before the intermission ... Don Cherry picked Daniel Sedin to score the winner in OT. “You know why?” said Grapes. “Cuz he’s done nothing (so far).” ... Do the Capitals fire Boudreau if the team is swept out of Round 2? No one should be surprised.

THINGS I THINK I THUNK:

Any day now, college kids will invent a drinking game with shots taken every time a TV guy uses the phrase “bang on.” ... Taking exception to the above comment by Knuble that the area in front of the net “is a great spot to be” might be Brooks Laich, who was in that vicinity when he was hit by a shot that left his face rather messy ... Carrie Underwood looks good in orange. Shocked? ... Great camera angle to catch the goal celebration by Lecavalier, whose fist pump might have looked like it was coming right through your TV ... The difference between international hockey and the NHL playoffs: A Swiss player is tapped on the thigh pad by Dion Phaneuf in the afternoon and gets awarded a penalty shot. Hours later, Ovechkin is blatantly hauled down by Brett Clark on a breakaway and is given two minutes for hooking ... Caps media people were quick to point out that, with his assist on the the first goal, Ovechkin passed Kelly Miller for eighth all-time in team playoff points. Somehow, it seems he should be higher.

SWEET TWEETS:

So Bolts fans are decked out in blue and white, team’s new colours next year. Weird seeing those colours in playoffs #NHLPlayoffs #WasTBL

-Kevin McGran (kevin_mcgran), who covers the Toronto Maple Leafs for the Toronto Star.

If the Caps don’t win four in a row, something has to change on that team. It’s easy to say it’s the coach, but they’re missing something.

-Tom Gulitti (TGfireandice), who covers the New Jersey Devils for The Record.

Who spilled Velveeta on the Nashville crowd?

-Elliotte Friedman (FriedgeHNIC), from Hockey Night in Canada.


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