Canucks sinking fast after loss to Sharks

Randy Sportak


San Jose Sharks forward Joe Pavelski celebrates after scoring on Vancouver Canucks goalie Cory Schneider  during Game 3 of the NHL Western Conference quarterfinal in San Jose, May 5, 2013  (REUTERS/Robert Galbraith)

San Jose Sharks forward Joe Pavelski celebrates after scoring on Vancouver Canucks goalie Cory Schneider during Game 3 of the NHL Western Conference quarterfinal in San Jose, May 5, 2013 (REUTERS/Robert Galbraith)



San Jose becomes one big festival thanks to Cinco de Mayo.

For the Vancouver Canucks, it was more like Sinko de Mayo.

Or maybe Stinko de Mayo.

Now, the Canucks are one loss away from being sunk in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs after being given a 5-2 beatdown at the hands of the San Jose Sharks Sunday in Northern California.

San Jose has a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven opening-round series and will go for the sweep Tuesday.

A one-goal game after two periods became a whitewash early in the third when Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau scored nine seconds apart and then Couture added a second during a 157-second spell that would have seen Roy Scheider telling Vancouver: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

Thanks to an Alexandre Burrows goal that made it a 2-1 clash after 40 minutes, the Canucks were still clinging to hope, although they were frantically trying to stay afloat with the Great Whites circling.

It all disappeared in the blink of an eye before the frenzied sellout crowd of 17,562 at the HP Pavilion.


Couture, who finished with a four-point night, started the fun when his 45-foot offering somehow eluded Canucks netminder Cory Schneider, who returned to action after missing the first two games of the series due to injury.

“I just missed it. I just whiffed on it,” Schneider said. “I wish I could give you a better explanation, but I don’t know if I lost it or what, I just missed it.

“It’s not a good feeling to let your team down like that.”

Patrick Marleau won the ensuing faceoff, worked his way to the slot and and fired a five-hole shot past Schneider.

Schneider didn’t look great on that goal either, even though his team was reeling.

He fell on the sword.

“There’s no excuse. When you play in the playoffs, there’s no rust, there’s no nothing. You’ve got to perform. You’ve got to execute. I didn’t get it done,” Schneider said. “Didn’t keep my team in it. Didn’t give them a chance to win.”

Which led to questions surrounding Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault's decision to sit Robert Luongo, who played well enough through the opening two games of this series.

“We felt Lou was playing great,” Sharks centre Joe Thornton told CSNBayArea after the game. “We felt we were lucky not to play against Lou, to be honest."

Any hopes for a Canucks comeback were destroyed when Couture netted his second goal to make it 5-1, the perfect retribution after he was on the receiving end of a high stick from Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin.

Luongo was put in net when the Sharks hit five — cinco in Spanish, which is the perfect amount for the day — to create yet another goaltending controversy for Vancouver to live through.

Vigneault wouldn’t say who he’ll turn to in what could be the Canucks’ final game of the season.

“That’s not my call, bud,” Luongo said when asked if he expected to get the next game. “That’s the coach’s call.”

The way things are going for the Canucks, it likely wouldn’t matter. They could have an in-his-prime Vladislav Tretiak between the pipes, but won’t win if they can’t score and don’t stop taking foolish penalties.

Joe Pavelski took advantage of Vancouver’s ill-advised exuberance with a five-on-three tally to open the scoring. He made it a 2-0 game just before the midway point, and finished with three points.

Hamhuis scored a meaningless goal after San Jose had put the five-spot on the board.

Now, the word sweep has entered what should be a tighter series.

“The last time we were in this situation, we had to play seven,” said Sharks coach Todd McLellan, alluding to a series two years ago his team won against Detroit. “There’s a lot of hockey left between these two teams. A lot.”

Meanwhile, the Canucks are grasping at disappearing hope.

“Right now, we can’t draw on anything (positive), but we have to make sure that when we come to the rink, starting tomorrow, we are 100% dedicated to winning a hockey game,” Luongo said. “That’s doing whatever it takes, whether it’s taking a punch to the face, blocking a shot with your teeth.

“If we have 20 guys ready to do that next game, I like our chances.”

On Twitter: @SunRandySportak


Did Vigneault make the right decision in net?

Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions