Zack Kassian (Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
Former teammates and now division rivals, Zack Kassian and Ryan Kesler got reacquainted Monday night when Kassian decked Kesler with a clean, hard open-ice hit.
For three seasons, Zack Kassian and Ryan Kesler were teammates. However, after an offseason trade sent Kesler to Anaheim, they became division rivals. Monday evening, Kassian gave his former teammate a taste of what it means to be on the receiving end of Kassian’s crash and bang style of play.
Early in the first period, Kesler had his head down to locate and battle for a loose puck with Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev trailing him closely. Before Kesler could get his head up to make himself aware of his surroundings, Kassian was there to put him on his back:
Last season, Kesler and Kassian spent the equivalent of roughly two games skating at 5-on-5 together, so Kesler definitely knows the type of damage Kassian can inflict. Luckily for Kesler he was able to pop right back up and get into the play again. There’s no way that hit felt good, though.
Kassian’s big hit on Kesler was a sign of things to come, too. When the contest was through, the big Canucks winger had notched the game-winning goal, two shots, four penalty minutes, three hits in 13:52 of ice time. Not a bad night at all.