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This article was published 11/12/2011 (3694 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
OTTAWA -- It's like that scene from the movie Jerry Maguire, when Jerry (Tom Cruise) says to Dorothy (Renee Zellweger), "you ... you complete me."
That's kind of the way the Vancouver Canucks feel about Ryan Kesler.
He may not exactly complete them, but he sure makes them better when he is at the top of his game. If he's not quite there right now, Kesler is certainly close.
Kesler had two goals and an assist in Vancouver's 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night at Scotiabank Place and is beginning to look like the player who scored 41 goals last season and won the Frank Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward.
It's probably not a coincidence that Vancouver's current run -- nine wins in its last 10 games -- has coincided with Kesler's returning to form.
Kesler has 14 points in his last 10 games. In the first 14 games he played after returning from off-season hip surgery, Kesler had seven points.
"It's a work in progress," Kesler said Saturday night. "I know I wasn't playing my best hockey when I came back and I just tried to stay positive and stay with it and finally I am getting rewarded here."
His second goal Saturday night, a power-play marker midway through the second period, was vintage Kesler. He literally had Ottawa defenceman Chris Phillips draped all over him at the edge of the crease, but somehow managed to find the puck and slip it past goalie Craig Anderson to give the Canucks a 3-0 lead.
"The battle level he had to find that puck and get that puck was obviously huge," said Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault. "That's when he is at his best. Work is big part of his game and there are different levels of work and that was obviously a huge level.
"He usually plays like that. I said at the beginning when he came back that he had to be patient because of the injury and it took a while to find his groove and now he's got it."
The Canucks are a much more dangerous team when they can throw out a second line with a healthy Kesler onto the ice.
"That's a big boost for us," said Canucks captain Henrik Sedin. "He is a top player in this league and to see him back to where he wants to be, that makes a huge difference for us.
"He carries a line, when you put him with Higgie (Chris Higgins) and Mase (Mason Raymond) or Jannik (Hansen) or (David) Booth, that's a good line. We know they are going to give us a great effort and most nights are going to give us a goal. That is usually the difference."
It certainly was Saturday night.
-- Postmedia News