The Vancouver Canucks have been a much better team in recent weeks while taking over first place in the Northwest Division. Vancouver got even more help with the return of Ryan Kesler on Monday night. Kesler scored a goal as the Canucks scored a 2-0 shutout win. This could be the biggest thing to happen to the team before the playoffs begin.
Kesler missed 20 games before his return and scoring right off the bat showed that there wasn’t any rust on the talented forward. His return may also take some pressure off players like Henrik and Daniel Sedin as well. Kesler can potentially pick up some of the scoring slack when the Sedins aren’t on the ice. Vancouver is sitting pretty with the No. 3 seed presently in the Western Conference, and with just nine games to go in the regular season, the Canucks should be able to get the division title.
That third seed will be important for a number of reasons because it is very possible that Vancouver could face the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the playoffs. The two rivals have fought all season for the top of the division. Vancouver appears to be getting back to full strength now that they have Kesler back, and if the goaltending continues to be strong for the Canucks, I don’t see why they can’t make it all the way to the conference finals. Kesler had gotten a ton of rest during his recovery, and that will only help the Canucks when the playoffs arrive.