Kesler was hurt after colliding with Jets forward Jim Slater late in the second period, immediately left the ice and didn’t return:
Slater received a tripping penalty on the play.
As for Kesler and the Canucks, the injury couldn’t have come at a worse time. The center has been remarkably healthy this season, appearing in 67 of 68 games after missing nearly two-thirds of the ’13 campaign with a shoulder injury and broken right foot.
The 29-year-old leads Vancouver in goals this year, with 22, and is averaging 22:08 TOI per game — most among all NHL forwards.
As such, the Canucks will have a remarkably difficult time filling his void in the lineup…a troubling development, given they were already without the services of Daniel Sedin and are fighting for their playoff lives in the Western Conference. Heading into Friday’s play, they sit four points back of Dallas for the final wild card spot, and are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
PHT Morning Skate: Shane Doan takes a (friendly) shot at the Miracle on Ice
The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.
Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.
With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.
Trevor Daley, traded to Blackhawks for Sharp & Johns and to #Pens for Scuderi (who was flipped to LA for Ehrhoff) played 28:41 in G4 W.