Kesler shines for Canucks

Vancouver Canucks Mikael Samuelsson, left, is congratulated by teammate Ryan Kesler after...

Vancouver Canucks Mikael Samuelsson, left, is congratulated by teammate Ryan Kesler after Samuelsson scored against the New York Rangers last night. (Andy Clark, Reuters)

HOSEA CHEUNG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:54 AM ET

An eventful third period Tuesday that saw more misconducts than goals resulted in a 4-1 win for the Canucks (9-7) over the New York Rangers. The victory is Vancouver's seventh in their last eight home games, improving their record at GM Place to 7-2-0.

Ryan Kesler continued to show why he is currently the best player on this team after battling for the puck on the forecheck and making a beautiful pass to Rick Rypien for the game winner.

Kesler also recorded assists on both Mikael Samuelsson's opening tally and the cushion third goal. The first one came after the rebound from Kesler's slapshot made its way onto the Swede's stick while the latter goal came on the powerplay with 5:47 left in the game. Samuelsson now has a team-high eight goals this season.

Andrew 'Rayzor' Raycroft, who stopped 22 of 23 shots, put together another solid showing to earn his third win of the season. Meanwhile, Rangers' goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves while giving up three goals, bringing his total to 11 goals allowed in three career games against Vancouver

With Michael Grabner reportedly out for six weeks with a broken ankle, coach Alain Vigneault continued his position shuffling, moving defenceman Kevin Bieksa to the wing alongside Kyle Wellwood and Tanner Glass. Bieksa was solid as a forward, recording four shots and 12:42 of ice-time. On a related note, the Canucks man-games loss to injuries is now at 82.

Things between the two teams began to heat up in the third when a huge scrum involving about 15 players -- in the middle of a line change -- escalated, which eventually led to both teams combining for five 10-minute misconducts and a roughing penalty. Alex Burrows, Shane O'Brien, and Kevin Bieksa got the major infractions for Vancouver, while Kesler sat out two minutes for his part in the incident. Christopher Higgins scored his first of the season seconds after the ensuing powerplay, tying the game up at one.

"I've already talked to Mike (Gillis) about it and he told me he was going to deal with it," said Vigneault regarding the third period festivities between the two teams.

The Canucks are now 3-0 against Eastern Conference teams this season, with the two other victories coming against Montreal and Toronto. Last year, Vancouver went 10-6-2 against the East.

Vancouver, who are 2-5 away from home, will look to improve on their road record as they head out on a five-game trip starting this Thursday against the Minnesota Wild.


Videos

Photos