No thanks to Ryan Kesler, Canucks caught in Tebow loop

The Canucks’ win in Colorado Saturday was nothing short of ridiculous. They were thoroughly outplayed by the Avalanche for the entire game and outshot 46 to 29. The Avs even missed two shots at the empty net in the game’s final minute. Then, fortunes changed in an instant when the puck took a weird bounce off a stanchion in the Colorado end and landed right on Kevin Bieksa’s stick. He buried it, tying the game, and the Canucks would go on to steal the two points in a shootout.

It was a shameless miracle.

Frankly, the Canucks have been getting by on shameless miracles for awhile now. They’re 4-0-1 in their last five games, all of which have required last-minute heroics, the most recent four of which have gone to overtime — three of which have gone to a shootout. The Canucks of the last 5 games look nothing like the team Vancouver fans are used to, a team that defeats opponents with strong puck possession, hard forechecking, and a lethal powerplay. Rather, this recent team is getting by on nothing but “clutch” performances, where “clutch” means “heroic albeit unnecessary if they had played better.”

So what happened prior to this five-game stretch to turn the Canucks from the team Vancouverites know into a hapless group relying on cheap miracles to eke out wins?

Ryan Kesler Tebowed.

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If you watched the Nashville-Vancouver series, you probably noticed that Ryan Kesler kind of won it all by himself. He did everything. He functioned as the team’s shutdown center. He drew almost half of Nashville’s penalties. He took half his team’s faceoffs. He was involved in 11 of the team’s 14 goals. He played the hero and the villain simultaneously. Barry Trotz compared him to a pre-(and post) Vancouver Mark Messier, admitting that Kesler’s play throughout the series was the reason Vancouver won in six. It was a performance for the ages.

It also generated an amusing little meme over at the HF Boards, where, once it became apparent Ryan Kesler was literally doing everything, the creativity started to flow. It didn’t matter if it was a good thing or a bad thing — if it happened, Ryan Kesler did it. And, so, without further ado, we present the “Ryan Kesler Did This” gallery.

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