Capitals blow lead in 3rd period, fall to Canucks

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella leaned heavily on his first line during the team’s recent seven-game road trip.

Monday night was just more of the same.

Daniel Sedin scored the winner in the third after helping to set up linemate Ryan Kesler’s tying goal a few minutes earlier and the Canucks rallied to defeat the Washington Capitals 3-2.

Coming off a 5-1-1 road trip, the Canucks were down 2-1 early in the final period despite dominating the Capitals in all three zones.

That’s when the line of Kesler, Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin took over to help Vancouver to its fourth straight victory.

“They had the puck a lot tonight,” Tortorella said of the trio. “They’ve been consistent so we’ll keep them together and see where we go with it.”

After the teams traded goals early in the third period, Kesler and the Sedins played keep-away in the Washington zone to give Vancouver the lead for good.

Daniel Sedin finished the sequence off by faking a pass at the top of the slot and blasting a shot past Washington goalie Michael Neuvirth at 5:01 for a 3-2 lead.

“Resiliency. You go down early in the third and we find a way to battle back and get the go-ahead (goal),” said Kesler, who along with the Sedins played more than 23 minutes. “That’s the way our team’s been all year.”

Capitals star forward Alex Ovechkin was stopped on a penalty shot by Roberto Luongo just 79 seconds into the game and was also on for both the tying and winning goals.

“When the Kesler goal was scored it was my guy, I was kind of playing position as center and the third goal, he make a great move and (Capitals forward Marcus Johansson) was kind of guessing,” he said. “Two shifts cost us the game.”

Kesler has five goals and three assists in his past five games since being paired with the Sedins after scoring just once in the first six games of the season.

“Through the whole year (Kesler) has done all the things we’ve asked of him and now the puck’s going in for him,” Tortorella said. “I’m happy he’s getting rewarded, because he deserves it.”

Luongo made 17 saves to get the victory, while Zack Kassian also scored for Vancouver (9-4-1), which played at Rogers Arena for the first time since Oct. 12. Henrik Sedin’s assist on the winner extended his point streak to nine games.

Jason Chimera, with a goal and an assist, and Mikhail Grabovski scored for Washington (5-7-0), which got 38 stops from Neuvirth.

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