That the San Jose Sharks must do something to contend with Ryan Kesler is obvious. The interesting spin-off is that it may result in more opportunity for the Sedins. Kesler played arguably the greatest playoff round in Canucks history against Nashville. After going pointless in the first game, he then reeled off an amazing 11 points (5-6) in the final five games of the second-round series. But that was just scoring. He also led the Canucks in just about every other area. The Sharks may try to get their No. 1 line of Joe Thornton between Patrick Marleau and Devin Setoguchi out against Kesler – hoping that it deflects more of his energies to the defensive side of the puck, as it did with the Jonathan Toews line in the Chicago series. Vancouver's matchup of choice in the four regular-season games against the Sharks was to sic Manny Malhotra and his third line on Thornton. But with Malhotra's season-ending eye injury that's not an option — so Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault may be OK with Kesler-Thornton when he gets last change in the first two games at Rogers Arena. San Jose coach Todd McLellan appeared to seek a Thornton-Sedins matchup in the regular season, so we'll see how that shakes out. The other difference from the Canucks' previous series — and this should also benefit the Sedins — is that San Jose has no true shutdown defence pair like Nashville's all-world Ryan Suter and Shea Weber. Minute-muncher Dan Boyle plays a ton, and after that it gets done by committee. The Sedins had a miserable time in the Nashville series, Henrik with 1-3 in the six games and Daniel with 1-2. But the north-south style that this series shapes up to be should benefit Danny and Hank.
San Jose focus on Kesler could help Sedins line
Vancouver Province | May 15