Ryan Kesler had sounded more like a motivational speaker than a realist Monday.
Before his club manufactured a rare three-goal lead and then fell completely apart in the third period for a stunning 7-4 loss to the New York Islanders at Rogers Arena, the winger was convinced there was still enough skill and will within the fragile Vancouver Canucks to score more than one goal a night and push toward an unlikely playoff position.
And with everything that has surrounded Kesler the past week — not being moved at the trade deadline and being the subject of offseason trade rumours — you had to appreciate the optimism.
Then came the reality.
Surrendering seven, third-period goals to tie a franchise record for futility that dates back to Wayne Gretzky and the high-octane Edmonton Oilers, who did it twice to the locals — the third period during a 10-7 win on Oct. 18, 1983, and the final frame of a 13-0 rout on...