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Canucks nudge back in front with OT win

NASHVILLE — Ryan Kesler capped a three-point night with his power-play score 10:45 into overtime, his second goal of the game, to give the Canucks a 3-2 victory over the Predators on Tuesday night.

Nashville's Shea Weber, a finalist for the Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman, was called for hooking Kesler 40 seconds before the deciding goal.

Fans in the sellout crowd reacted angrily, throwing towels and other debris onto the ice.

Kesler scored his first two goals of the postseason and had an assist, and Chris Higgins had a goal for Vancouver.

The Canucks, the Presidents' Trophy winners in the regular season, bounced back from a 2-1, double-overtime loss in Game 2 and regained home-ice advantage.

Game 4 is Thursday in Nashville.

Joel Ward and David Legwand scored for the Predators, who matched the Canucks' energy but not their shots. Vancouver outshot Nashville 40-26 through regulation.

Predators forward Steve Sullivan left after suffering an apparent knee injury in a collision with Vancouver defenseman Dan Hamhuis with 3:10 left in regulation.

Canucks 0 1 1 1 3
Predators 1 0 1 0 2

First Period1, Nashville, Legwand 3 (Suter, Spaling), 10:18 (sh). PenaltiesSmithson, Nas (roughing), 9:38; Lapierre, Van (interference), 12:29; Smithson, Nas (high-sticking), 19:42.

Second Period2, Vancouver, Kesler 1 (Ehrhoff, D.Sedin), 1:00 (pp). PenaltiesFisher, Nas (tripping), 5:22; Lapierre, Van (slashing), 8:08; Kesler, Van (high-sticking), 18:22.

Third Period3, Vancouver, Higgins 3 (Kesler, Edler), 3:03. 4, Nashville, Ward 4 (Erat), 13:18. PenaltiesNone. First Overtime5, Vancouver, Kesler 2 (Samuelsson, Ehrhoff), 10:45 (pp). PenaltiesWeber, Nas (hooking), 10:05. Shots on GoalVancouver 15-9-16-7—47. Nashville 8-4-14-4—30. Power-play opportunitiesVancouver 2 of 4; Nashville 0 of 3. GoaliesVancouver, Luongo 6-4-0 (30 shots-28 saves). Nashville, Rinne 5-4-0 (47-44). A17,113 (17,113). T3:01. Referees—Chris Lee, Tim Peel. LinesmenScott Driscoll, Brad Kovachik.

Two new Sharks making most of playoff chance

DETROIT — Kyle Wellwood and Ian White already had much in common before the playoffs.

Both Sharks were relatively unheralded February acquisitions who helped San Jose turn its season around. Wellwood's arrival let coach Todd McLellan establish well-defined forward lines. White immediately stabilized the defense.

But now, as the Sharks attempt to match last year's success and grab a 3-0 series lead over the Red Wings tonight at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena, the two have even more in common.

Both have been strong in the postseason, chipping in key goals and competing well enough at each end of the ice to share the team's top plus-minus rating at plus-6.

And both are poised to add their names to the list of everyday skaters who elevate their game in the playoffs, a Stanley Cup tradition.

"Special player," is McLellan's standard term for Wellwood. "Tremendous asset," is how the coach described White on Tuesday.

Wellwood has a goal and three assists in this postseason. That goal in the first round beat Kings goalie Jonathan Quick in San Jose's clinching Game 6 victory.

White has a goal, in a 2-1 victory over Detroit in Game 2, and five assists. His six points put him in a group of five defensemen tied for second in the postseason going into Tuesday.

"This is the only opportunity I've had so far to make a contribution in the postseason, and I've always known I had the game to succeed and help teams win," said White, who is in the playoffs for the first time in his fifth NHL season. "It's nice to finally get a chance."

COYOTES: The league exercised its option to take $25 million from the city of Glendale, Ariz., to cover the team's losses this season. The city placed the money in escrow a year ago at the NHL's insistence to cover such losses if the sale of the team hadn't gone through by the end of this season. The city said the NHL took the funds Monday. The league bought the team out of bankruptcy in 2009 with the intent to find a buyer to keep the team in Arizona.

Canucks nudge back in front with OT win 05/03/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 1:30am]
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