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Kesler scores twice, Sanford strong in goal as Canucks win

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The way Ryan Kesler figures it, sometimes
you lose when you shouldn't and then you turn around and steal a
win.

The former Ohio State hockey player returned home to score two
goals, goalie Curtis Sanford made 35 saves in his first start of
the season and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Columbus Blue Jackets
4-1 on Sunday night.

"We should have won the game two nights ago," Kesler said of a
4-2 home loss to Los Angeles. "I don't think we should have won
this game tonight the way we played. It's a funny game that way.
They didn't capitalize on some of their opportunities in the second
and we capitalized on our few. That was the outcome."

Markus Naslund and Kevin Bieksa added goals for the Canucks, who
had lost their last two games. They won despite being outshot 20-0
during one lengthy span and 14-0 in the second period.

"It was a barrage out there," Sanford said. "That's what
happens when you kill penalties for a whole period. It was nice to
come in after the second with the lead still. We knew we were still
in a good situation. It was just up to us to go out in the third
period, play our game and just get back to what makes us
successful."

Naslund's goal gave the Canucks some breathing room. Ahead 2-1
and hanging on in the third period, Naslund controlled the puck as
he skated down the right wing and then angled sharply toward the
high slot, waiting patiently before ripping a hard wrist shot high
into the corner of the net.

Kesler stole the puck from Columbus' Nikolai Zherdev and scored
on a short-handed empty-netter after the Blue Jackets pulled their
goaltender for a two-man advantage with just over a minute
remaining.

"We got a great performance by Ryan Kesler tonight," coach
Alain Vigneault said. "He played one of his best games since I've
been here with the Canucks. Hopefully we've got him on the right
track."

Kesler stretched his points streak to three games -- he had three
assists in Vancouver's last two games -- when he scored on a wrister
from the left circle on the Canucks' first shot, 5:39 in. It was
just a straightforward rush, with no one in front of the goal, yet
it eluded Columbus goaltender Pascal Leclaire.

"That's a save I have to make," Leclaire said.

Kesler's goal ended Leclaire's home scoreless streak at 156:01.
Leclaire, who came into this season with just one career shutout,
has three this season including two in his only previous starts at
home.

Vancouver made it 2-0 on its first power play, with Biekstra
scoring on a one-timer from the left dot. His shot found its way
through five players in front of the net.

Sanford, playing in relief of Roberto Luongo, had given up four
goals in just 39 minutes in his only appearance this season. But he
made a number of nice glove saves on the Blue Jackets, who outshot
the Canucks 36-19.

Still, the Blue Jackets only scored one goal despite having six
power-play chances and finished 1 for 10 with a man advantage.
Vancouver was 1 for 6.

"When it's 26-6 in shots after two periods and you're down 2-1,
it's pretty obvious," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Our
work and our determination gave us the opportunity to go on the
power play a lot today and we didn't take advantage of it."

Rick Nash ran his goal streak to three games when he netted his
own rebound during a 5-on-3 at the 2:38 mark of the second period.

Game notes
The Canucks had gone without a shot in a period three
previous times, most recently the opening period on Jan. 18, 2007,
at Ottawa. ... Columbus killed its first 17 penalties at home this
season until Bieksa's goal.