The question was really a softball lobbed right into his wheelhouse for one of those home-run moments.

Surely, the response by Ryan Kesler would be worthy and link him to legendary playoff performers like Steve Yzerman, who played on one knee in leading the Detroit Red Wings to 2002 Stanley Cup glory.

When the Vancouver Canucks centre was asked what went racing through his mind when he hobbled off the ice Tuesday with an obvious groin strain before returning to force overtime in a stunning conferenceclinching double-overtime victory, he offered up his best Kevin Bieksa dry-wit impersonation.

"I just had to call my wife [Andrea] and I thought I left the iron on," said Kesler. "There wasn't a time I thought I wasn't going to come back in."

Just like Yzerman, right?

"I remember it like it was yesterday," added Kesler. "He was their leader and captain and you admire people like that."

The momentary laugh track was symbolic and Kesler could afford some levity because his walking stride in the Rogers Arena hallway Thursday looked as good as his press conference spirit. He even took a playful dig at his dad and hockey mentor, Mike, when Bieksa's bouncing winner ended the prolonged overtime drama at 9: 49 p.m. Pacific, or 12: 49 a.m. in the Detroit suburb of Livonia, Mich.

"My dad was sleeping, actually," said Kesler. "I talked to my mom [Linda] and had a good conversation with her and I didn't bother my dad that night. He's proud. Very proud."