Fans can talk all they want about how the goaltending situation in Vancouver should be the focal point of this series.
While that may be the case, Ryan Kesler provides stability on the second line that was noticeably lacking during his absence due to injury this season. One of the big areas in which Kesler provides reliability is the faceoff circle, where he won 58.77 percent of faceoffs at home and 56.61 percent of faceoffs on the road.
Looking at the San Jose Sharks' lineup, the Sharks have three players in the top 33 for faceoff winning percentage. Those players are Joe Thornton (58.5 percent), Joe Pavelski (51.8 percent) and Logan Couture (51.5 percent).
The Canucks, without Kesler, have no players in the top 33.
Vancouver needs Kesler to step up against the Sharks in the faceoff circle and somewhat neutralize that advantage that San Jose has currently.
In the season series, San Jose won the faceoff battle against the Canucks by a score of 114-77. The Sharks won all three games, out-shooting the Canucks in two of three.
The Canucks do not want to have to spend all of their energy trying to get the puck away from the Sharks in this series if the Sharks continue to win faceoffs.
Ryan Kesler, who did not play any regular season games against the Sharks, should help in that area.