3 Vancouver Canucks Who Need to Get Hot During the Final Stretch

Riley KuftaContributor IIIApril 11, 2013

3 Vancouver Canucks Who Need to Get Hot During the Final Stretch

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    The Vancouver Canucks have been playing well of late.

    However, there are a few players on the roster who haven't pulled their weight this season—and as we all know, every player needs to be on their A-game to take home the Stanley Cup. 

    Here are three Canucks who need to turn it on if the team is going to go all the way. 

3. Zack Kassian

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    At the start of the season, we got a pleasant glimpse of the dominant player Zack Kassian can be.

    Although he only has one goal since starting the season with five in seven games, Kassian still has the potential to be a force for the Canucks down the stretch—not only offensively, but physically, too. 

    With Kassian on his game, the Canucks will be a hard team to stop. 

2. Keith Ballard

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    We all know Keith Ballard is talented, but an excess of defensive mistakes and a lack of opportunity from Alain Vigneault has seriously limited his impact this season. 

    On Tuesday, the Canucks announced that defender Chris Tanev was out indefinitely with a lower-body injury.

    This is Ballard's chance to step up, and if he doesn't capitalize it could not only hurt the Canucks, but it could also mean the end of Ballard's time as a Canuck (which could be a good thing for both parties).  

1. Ryan Kesler

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    Ryan Kesler has been one never-ending disaster since last season. If not injured, his time on the ice has been played under strain, and it showed. 

    When the Canucks lost in the first round last season to the LA Kings, one of the most noticeable downturns was the play of Kesler, who did not contribute offensively while making a league-wide reputation for diving. 

    It's difficult to say if his diving tendencies were a result of his compensating for his lack of health, but regardless the Canucks will need him at 100-percent now that he's made his second return of the season. 

    Kesler has proven more than once that he's capable of 70-plus points in a season, and that's the player we need to see in this year's playoffs. If the Kesler from last April shows up, the Canucks could be in for another premature exit. 

     

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