Fans in the sellout crowd reacted angrily, throwing towels and other debris onto the ice.
Kesler scored his first two goals of the postseason and had an assist, and Chris Higgins had a goal for Vancouver. Christian Ehrhoff had two assists as the Canucks, the Presidents’ Trophy winners in the regular season, bounced back from a 2-1, double-overtime loss in Game 2 and regained home-ice advantage.
Game 4 is Thursday in Nashville.
Kesler drew the penalty 10:05 into the extra period that gave the Canucks the decisive power play. He stayed bent over, trapping Nashville captain Shea Weber’s stick in his belly while the defenseman pounded on him trying to get his stick back. Weber was sent off for hooking on the questionable call.
Just 40 seconds later, Kesler tipped in a shot from Mikael Samuelsson for the winning goal that put the Canucks back in front in the series.
At Lightning 4, Capitals 3: Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone scored 24 seconds apart in the third period and the streaking Tampa Bay Lightning beat Washington to push the top-seeded Capitals to the brink of elimination in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
After winning twice in Washington, the Lightning returned home and rallied to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. Tampa Bay can advance to the conference finals with a victory at home today in Game 4.
Vincent Lecavalier and Sean Bergenheim also scored for the fifth-seeded Lightning, which has won six straight. Tampa Bay hasn’t lost since falling into a 3-1 hole against Pittsburgh in the first round.
Alex Ovechkin had a power-play goal and an assist for Washington, which led 3-2 heading into the third period.
LEAGUE TAKES CITY’S $25 MILLION
The NHL exercised its option to take $25 million from the city of Glendale, Ariz., to cover losses by the Phoenix Coyotes this season.
The city had placed the money in escrow a year ago at the NHL’s insistence to cover such losses if the sale of the team had not gone through by the end of this season.
The NHL bought the team out of bankruptcy in September 2009 with the intention of finding a buyer to keep the team in Arizona.