Today: part three of Ryan Kesler’s entry in the Every Goal series, in which you’ll see such things as Kesler’s second career hat trick, Kesler’s first shorthanded goal of the year, Henrik Sedin being all shifty like a dog that’s up to no good, Adrian Aucoin made to look rather foolish, Alex Burrows being a sneaky jerk, and a buttload of tips. Seriously, there are more redirects here than a gubernatorial debate. It’s like a tipping convention. Anyway. Enjoy.
Kesler’s 21st of the season comes on a beautiful end-to-end rush, taking the puck in the defensive zone, gaining a head of speed while rushing it through the neutral zone, then gaining the blue line and firing the puck. I love the way he comes straight through the middle, then brings the puck across his man to provide a brief screen on the shot. Nikolai Khabibulin gets his cheater on it, but the puck is determined to go in the net. It bounces up in the air and falls in behind him.
This clip is evidence that Kesler was downright unstoppable on January 7. He nearly scores his second goal with a one-timer on a nice feed from Raffi Torres, but Khabibulin manages to get his right pad on it. The puck then squirts out to Dan Hamhuis at the point, who fires it at the net, doing well to get it up and over Linus Omark’s attempt to block it. Kesler deflection is perfect.
So is this one. Kesler gets his second hat trick goal of the season on the powerplay, redirecting Christian Ehrhoff’s wrist shot past Khabibulin for his third. I suspect that Ehrhoff’s wrist shot was actually more of a pass. From the reverse angle, you can see a small lane to the side of the net open up between the two Oiler defenders, and that’s exactly where he puts it.
I had totally forgotten about this goal because it took place during one of the most unentertaining games of the season, the Canucks 4-3 shootout win over the New York Islanders. It’s a gorgeous goal, though, and I’m glad to be reminded of it. The pay begins when Raffi Torres carries the puck into the offensive zone. His defender moves over to take him off the puck, and Torres absorbs the hit while making a drop pass to Mikael Samuelsson, who sidesteps them both. Suddenly it’s a 3-on-2 deep in the zone, and Samuelsson makes a nice pass to Kesler, who puts the puck off the post and in. There are few sounds sexier than the clink the puck makes on the way in.
Another day, another powerplay goal. Like I said earlier, the Canucks and Kesler both became substantially more dangerous when he improved his puck-tipping skills. Here, he redirects Christian Ehrhoff’s point shot back to the far side of the net. and Craig Anderson kicks himself for overcommitting to a shot that was going wide.
Here’s Kesler’s first shorthanded goal of the year, scored, like many of his others, on a blistering wrist shot from the top of the circle. The play begins when Alex Burrows beats Olli Jokinen to a loose puck, then charges out into the neutral zone with Kesler, 2on-2. I love the way they criss-cross, with Burrows charging to the wall, then Kesler sliding in behind him for the drop-pass. But the best part of this goal, which went completely unnoticed by most, is the way Burrows briefly ties up Alex Tanguay, hooking his stick just long enough to put him too off balance to get in front of Kesler’s shot. Burrows is super sneaky. Just ask Mike Murphy.
Seriously, are all of these deflections now? Good grief. Here’s yet another Kesler powerplay goal scored on a redirect, although this time it’s Alex Edler’s point blast that gets tipped on its way to the net. That said, the real stars of this clip are the Sedins. After Henrik takes the puck along the side boards, he gives the Stars’ penalty killers every indication he plans to feed Daniel, who’s camped out inside the box, looking for a one-timer, or pass it to Kesler, who’s calling for the puck at the side of the net. Then, when Daniel Sedin leaves the box, the Stars close in on Henrik, forgetting that his saucy saucering skills mean Alex Edler is an option as well. Henrik skips the puck to Edler like it’s the smoothest pebble at the lake.
The goal bears a striking similarity to goal number seventeen from yesterday, which was also a 2-on-1 featuring Jannik Hansen and Ryan Kesler. This one begins when the poor, hapless Stars turn the puck over in the offensive zone. The puck bounces over Loui Eriksson’s stick, and Jannik “Danish Ninja” Hansen, ever the lurking opportunist, pounces on it and breaks up the other way. When Stephane Robidas encroaches on his space, Hansen makes a clever fake pass to Kesler, backing off Robidas and giving Kesler room to skate. Of course, then he passes the puck to Kesler, who does that thing he does.
Here’s another 2-on-1, this time with Kesler and Raymond, but Kesler simply isn’t as generous as Jannik Hansen. Rather than move the puck across to Raymond, he undresses Adrian Aucoin with a slick drag-move, then goes upstairs on Ilya Bryzgalov. It’s always smart to go upstairs on Ilya Bryzgalov. There are no parks up there, so he’s generally loath to follow.
Kesler scores later in the same game after Mason Raymond pokes the puck off Lee Stempniak’s stick during an attempted Phoenix breakout. Kesler retrieves the loose puck in front, but he’s hooked by Stempniak as he tries to shoot, losing the puck. Thankfully, he’s the first one to it again, and this time he gets it off before anyone can hook him. He swivels like a rod hockey player and snaps one top corner on Jason LaBarbera for his 30th of the season.
Previous entries in the Every Goal 2010-11 series: