Kesler, Lack help Canucks slip by Hurricanes
Raleigh, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Ryan Kesler scored twice and Eddie Lack stopped 29 pucks, as Vancouver slipped by Carolina, 3-2, in a Sunday matinee.
Tom Sestito also tallied and Jason Garrison added a pair of assists for the Canucks, who shook off a loss in Manhattan Saturday to go 2-1 on their four-game road trip.
"We had a tiny lapse there in the second period, but we closed it out. Good win for us," said Kesler.
Jordan Staal and Nathan Gerbe provided offense for the Hurricanes, losers of two straight and six of eight. Cam Ward made 27 saves in the setback.
After the Vancouver defense collapsed in a short span at the outset of the second period, Kesler restored the Canucks' one-goal lead at 1:16. Higgins carried the puck behind the Carolina net and flung a one-handed pass into the slot, where the American forward chipped it over a falling Ward.
Lack was solid, stopping 15 more shots in the middle frame, then came up with 10 more in the third period to keep the slim margin intact.
Ward was pulled for an extra skater with 78 seconds left in regulation, but the hosts had no answer.
"They pushed us out of the first period," 'Canes head coach Kirk Muller said. "They won all the battles, they were more competitive, they owned it around our net in the first period. We had one shot from our forwards in the first period."
Vancouver was given 65 seconds of a 5-on-3 early in the first period and cashed in as Kesler followed a Garrison shot and chipped it home from the left side with 3:24 played.
Garrison was originally credited with his next shot, which zipped by Ward with 4:12 remaining -- but Sestito was ultimately ruled the scorer as the puck redirected off his body in the slot.
Carolina got back into the game with goals 10 seconds apart within the opening minute of the second. Jordan Staal dug at a loose puck in the crease and scored at 39 seconds, then Gerbe's shot from an angle off an Eric Staal chance forged a 2-2 deadlock.
"For us, playing a back-to-back, it was a good wake-up call," said Canucks head coach John Tortorella. "It's about getting tougher, grabbing a hold of ourselves and finding a way."
Vancouver hadn't won in Carolina since 3-2 decision on Nov. 27, 2002, having lost three in a row prior to Sunday ...The Canucks improved to 3-5-1 all-time in North Carolina and 10-6-1 overall vs. the Hurricanes since their relocation from Hartford in 1997 ... According to Elias, the last time the Whalers/Hurricanes franchise scored twice within the first minute of a period, Ron Francis scored both against Quebec on Nov. 1, 1987 to kick off the third period of a 5-1 win ... Vancouver ends its road swing Tuesday at Nashville, while Carolina heads to Washington that same day.
12/01 19:38:39 ET