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Game 29: Surviving a Storm

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks were at their best and their worst at different points on Sunday but, in the end, all that mattered was they found a way to stave off the Hurricanes for a victory.

Ryan Kesler scored twice, including the eventual game-winner early in the second period, to lift the Canucks to a 3-2 win over the Hurricanes at the PNC Arena in a game that Canucks looked like they would run away with early on and then appeared as if they would hand it right back to their opponent before righting the ship.

In a break from recent form, the Canucks actually got off to a strong start opening the scoring for the just the third time in their last 13 outings courtesy of Kesler's first marker of the day on a 5-on-3 man-advantage just 3:24 into the contest.

Vancouver would double their lead with just over four minutes remaining in the opening frame after Tom Sestito redirected a Garrison shot past Hurricanes' netminder Cam Ward to give the Canucks a comfortable lead heading into the middle stanza. It was after that when it seemed the wheels were about to inexplicably fall off for the Canucks.

Jordan Staal and Nathan Gerbe found the back of the net in a span of 10 seconds less than one minute into the second period to equalize the game but the Canucks managed to quash the Canes' momentum with Kesler tallying his second of the night just 27 seconds after Gerbe's equalizer. Vancouver would stay even-keeled from that point on and hold off Carolina the rest of the way.

Eddie Lack, making his first start in three weeks, stopped 29 of 31 shots for the win although the biggest save of the night might have come from Alex Burrows who swept a puck off the goal-line during a Hurricanes' power play late in the third period.

Cam Ward made 27 saves on 30 shots in the loss.

The Canucks, who improved to 14-10-5 on the season and 2-1-0 on their current four-game trip, conclude their road swing on Tuesday in Nashville.

SURVIVING A SCARE: The only thing the Canucks are happier about than the win on Sunday was the fact they managed to escape unscathed. Ryan Kesler took a shot to the back of the head early in the game but promptly returned to score. Alex Burrows was struck in the side of the head by an errant clearing attempt by Chris Tanev in the second period but returned to the game after getting fixed up. The scariest moment, though, occurred after Jannik Hansen crashed awkwardly into the boards midway through the first period and left clutching his shoulder. Hansen, who had already missed 10 games this season with a shoulder injury, returned for the start of the second period.

FAST, BUT NOT RECORD FAST: The three goals the Canes and Canucks combined for in a span of 37 seconds early in the second period was close to setting franchise records for both teams but came up just shy on both counts. The Canucks' record for fastest three goals by both teams is 30 seconds set back on February 14, 1988 in a game against the Oilers. The Hurricanes franchise record for the same feat is 32 seconds set back on March 28, 1987 when they were the Hartford Whalers in a game against the Penguins.

NOTES AND NUMBERS: Ryan Kesler's two-goal performance was his third multi-goal effort of the season. As per Sportsnet, the Canucks now have a record of 22-0-0-1 all-time when Kesler scores two-or-more goals in a game... Ex-Hurricane Zac Dalpe faced his former team for the first time and notched his first point as a Canuck with an assist on Sestito's marker. It was also his first point in 14 games played dating back to April 6 of last season when he scored against the Rangers while with the Hurricanes. Dalpe took the roster spot of Zack Kassian who was a healthy scratch... The Canucks scored multiple goals in the first period for the first time since November 7 in San Jose... Daniel Sedin's team-leading five-game point streak came to an end.

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