The Vancouver Canucks are in trouble, as they stare at an 0-2 series deficit in their first-round matchup against the San Jose Sharks. While the Sharks got a huge overtime win on Friday thanks to a goal from Raffi Torres, the Canucks made some improvements from the 3-1 loss they suffered in game one. Ryan Kesler had a great game on Friday, but it ultimately proved to not be enough for the Canucks to get the win.
While goaltender Roberto Luongo shouldered a lot of the blame for the opening-game loss, he played much better in making 31 saves in game two. A late defensive collapse saw the Sharks tie the game up on a Patrick Marleau goal, and Luongo didn’t have the best chance to stop Torres’ game-winner. The two teams appear to be pretty evenly matched, but the Canucks offense will need to step up in a big way if they’re going to get back into this series. Kesler’s play in game one went mostly unnoticed, with some even speculating he might be injured again. It turned out he was just battling the flu, and he came back with a vengeance on Friday. His two goals (one on the power play) earned him first star honors despite the loss, and he also had seven hits while seeing more than 23 minutes of ice time.
Kesler set a great example for his teammates, showing how great players rise to the occasion in the biggest moments. The Canucks will need more than just his individual effort, though, and as the series shifts to San Jose more forwards will need to step up.