A day too late to help the Nashville Predators, warrior Ryan Kesler revealed Tuesday his secret weakness. We'll never know how close it came to destroying the Vancouver Canucks.

"I'm scared of laservision," Kesler told reporters.

We're not sure how the Predators could have game-planned for that, but coach Barry Trotz would have found a way.

With a contact lens missing, Kesler played some third-period shifts Monday with one good eye, chasing a blurry puck and listing slightly to one side. Must have been how Derek Sanderson felt. At least the impaired vision explains why Kesler went a couple a minutes without scoring.

He is scared of eye surgery.

Kesler finished Game 5 and played all of Game 6, which propelled the Canucks into their first National Hockey League conference final since 1994, with a hole in his face. Literally. Teammate Chris Higgins' deflected shot last Saturday punctured Kesler's face, opening a hole near his chin and knocking out a tooth. Kesler could have whistled Dixie with his lips closed.

He was dragged against his will to the medical room, where he was stitched inside the mouth and out – without anesthetic because Kesler figured that was an unnecessary waste of time. He missed about three shifts more than he did on Monday, when he merely couldn't see straight.

All this and Ryan Kesler is afraid to have day surgery to fix his eyesight.

At least we know he's afraid of something.

Early in the first period Monday, when he crashed into Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne and was engulfed by angry Predators, vulnerable as a french fry among seagulls, Kesler looked ready to take on the world.

He's halfway there. So are the Vancouver Canucks, who no longer need to be afraid.

The Canucks played the first half of the Stanley Cup tournament amid the double-whammy of extraordinary public expectations and a long, rich history of failure. They were in a no-win situation the first two rounds – nothing to gain and everything to lose.

They played the Chicago Blackhawks back into the series before finally slaying that dragon. Then in Round 2, they outlasted the Predators, who with an attack spearheaded by David Legwand and Joel Ward oddly chose to make the Canucks' miserable by defending at all costs in front of Rinne.