Ryan Kesler Scores a Gordie Howe Hat Trick, Canucks Down Predators in Game 4

Joel ProsserCorrespondent IMay 6, 2011

NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 05:  Ryan Kesler #17 of the Vancouver Canucks skates against Shea Weber #6 of the Nashville Predators in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals at Bridgestone Arena on May 5, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Well, it wasn't a real Gordie Howe hat trick, but it was a reasonable impersonation of one.

And more importantly, it powered the Vancouver Canucks to a Game 4 victory over the Nashville Predators

A true Gordie Howe hat trick is a goal, an assist and a fight in the same game.

Ryan Kesler put up his own version by scoring the game winning goal, assisting on two other goals, and throwing an elbow during a scrum that took out Jerred Smithson with a broken nose.

Smithson, one of the Predator's best forwards in the playoffs, is questionable for Game 6. 

Expect to see Kesler's goal in another History Will Be Made commercial sometime soon, his second such honor this spring. 

Kesler accepted a Henrik Sedin pass in the neutral zone and then powered past Shane O'Brien and Shea Weber before beating Pekka Rinne with a wrist shot.

As a man known for his own wicked elbows and clutch scoring, I think Mr Hockey would approve of Kesler's night.

Another hockey icon who approved of Kesler's night was Don Cherry. During Coach's Corner, Cherry was promoting Kesler for the Conn Smythe and lauding him as the best forward in the playoffs.

Aside from Kesler's nice night, two other Canucks also finished with a goal and two assists. Christian Ehrhoff continues to raise his asking price come July 1st with another three point night.  

But more importantly, Henrik Sedin came alive and assisted on a pair of goals before scoring himself into the empty net to rob Nashville of any chance of a comeback.

Kesler flying. 

Scoring from the defence. 

Burrows grinding out points. 

The Sedins scoring again. 

Luongo outplaying the other goalie.

The Canucks are finally starting to fire on all cylinders for the first time in the playoffs, and that doesn't bode well for Nashville.

It wasn't pretty, but the Canucks are slowly taking over the series. Nashville is now on the brink of elimination heading back to Vancouver for Game 5 on Saturday.

However, two weeks ago they also had the Blackhawks on the mat, and we know how that ended up. I think the Canucks learned from that, and the Predators aren't in the Canuck's heads like the Hawks.

Don't expect the Canucks to take the Predators lightly in Game 5, but I think Nashville is out of options.