BOSTON -- Not that there was much doubt, but Ryan Kesler confirmed he'd be in the lineup for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS) after he took part in the Vancouver Canucks' optional practice Monday morning here at TD Garden.
Coach Alain Vigneault said Sunday he expected Kesler to play. Every member of the Canucks' top two lines used Monday's practice to rest except Kesler, who participated without limitations during the 30-minute workout.
Kesler suffered an apparent groin injury during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against the San Jose Sharks, but returned during the series-clinching victory to score the tying goal with 13.2 seconds remaining in regulation. The Canucks received a week off before the start of the Stanley Cup Final, giving Kesler plenty of time to rest the injury.
But Kesler hasn't had the same jump in his stride against the Boston. In five games, he has just one assist and is a minus-3. He looked to find his skating stride during Game 5, so perhaps the two days off prior to Game 6 will help.
During the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Kesler has 7 goals and 12 assists in 23 games. He helped hold Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews to 1 goal and 3 assists in seven first-round games.
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