Kesler, H. Sedin, Franson comprise Thursday's Three Stars
1. Ryan Kesler, Canucks: Here's a suggestion for Nashville defensemen: Stop taking penalties against this guy in key moments. For the second straight game of this Western semifinal series between the Predators and Canucks, Kesler drew a call on a star Nashville defenseman, then rubbed it in with a game-winning goal off a power play.
For no justifiable reason during a 2-2 game in the third period, Nashville defender Ryan Suter decided to hog-tie Kesler from behind and toss him to the ice, putting his team down a man. With the Canucks a little more than midway through the power play, Kesler split the defense of Shea Weber and Shane O'Brien and beat hard-luck goalie Pekka Rinne with a smoking wrist shot to the left side. Kesler added two assists, for his second straight three-point game.
Remember when this guy was in a slump?
2. Henrik Sedin, Canucks: It doesn't matter that his first goal of the playoffs was just an empty-netter. What has to please the Canucks the most about Henrik's three-point night was his wire-to-wire solid showing, after too many so-so performances this postseason.
Sedin may still be bothered by an injury of some kind, which could account for some of his -- for him, at least -- subpar playoffs before Thursday. He looked just fine in Game 4, posting the three points and plus-2 in 18:05 of ice time.
3. Cody Franson, Predators: Normally, Weber and Suter get top billing ahead of Franson. If only they had performed as usual, this series would at least be tied going back to Vancouver. Franson did his part in trying to make that happen, scoring a goal and assisting on the Predators' only other, by Joel Ward. His slapshot goal temporarily tied the game in the third period, before Suter's costly error in judgment.
Franson put three shots on net and Weber got zero. With Weber having possibly the hardest shot in the NHL, that wasn't what coach Barry Trotz wanted.
SI Now Live Friday December 6, 2013
SI Now: "Lenny Cooke" documentary details a fallen prospect