But Kesler found the back of the net during a 5-on-3 power play during the second period, giving the Vancouver Canucks a 1-0 lead they would not relinquish in a 4-2 victory that has them one win away from their first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 1994.
Kesler's sixth goal of the postseason was a blast from the left faceoff circle, set up by a soft pass from Sami Salo.
After the game, Kesler spoke to the media about his goal and the hit he took from the Sharks' Ryane Clowe at the final buzzer.
Q: How perfect was Salo's pass to you on your goal?
Kesler: Yeah, it was good. It was a great pass by Sami and I buried it.
Q: What did you guys do differently on your 5-on-3s today after failing to convert on your two chances last game?
Kesler: I just think it was getting our shots through and hitting the net and crisp passes.
Q: What did the PK do better today?
Kesler: I think we just did our job. That's what the PK has to do. We have to outwork the power play and I think from the first period on of last game, we were pretty good. We did what we wanted to do and we continued it.
Q: How hard was it to kill five penalties to start the game?
Kesler: It was tough, but we have to do it. We take penalties, and some of those penalties we had to kill were hard-working penalties. We did it. We did a good job.
Q: What happened with Ryane Clowe at the end of the game?
Kesler: Head shot. Sucker punched me. Didn't expect it and hopefully the League looks at it.
Q: Was that the best you've seen Henrik Sedin?
Kesler: He was great. By far our best player. That's why he's our captain.
Q: How key was having Sami Salo on the point for those 5-on-3s?
Kesler: It's huge. When you have a big shot like that, you have to respect it. If you don't respect it, it's going to be in the back of your net.
Q: Was Christopher Tanev as good as you expected in his playoff debut?
Kesler: He's a special player. He's very steady back there and calm under pressure. I had full confidence in him coming in today and he did a good job.