first_img Chris Tanev needs to find his way back into the lineup – stat.  The team is missing his calm demeanour and puck-moving ability. All this said, the Canucks were leading this game as late as the last TV timeout of the second period.  If they could only find a way to dig down a bit deeper when they have these one goal leads, many games would be much easier for them to close out.  Their laziness and general indifference to working hard is costing them games and points.  It’ll be interesting to see if it’s just a lull in their game or if this is how they are going to finish the year and roll into the playoffs. It’s almost not worth saying it – the twins are really struggling right now, with another game without any points.  They’ve only recorded points in four of the last 13 games.  That just is not going to get it done, especially considering the third line is now virtually incapable of scoring with Sami Pahlsson as its centre (Higgins scored tonight on what was ostensibly an individual effort).  Post-game, Daniel stated that he felt his line was creating chances and they just weren’t going in, and that’s why this current funk is dissimilar to their January woes.  I don’t recall many Sedin chances tonight, but that said, it seemed like at times, they had the puck in the offensive zone and threatened.  Regardless – this is not the twins that we are used to seeing.  If they aren’t producing, this team will struggle to win, and that’s the bottom line. The most disturbing trend of all is the apparent indifference of the team.  They simply are just not working hard enough to win most games.  Tonight, Dallas was definitely the team that wanted it more.  Mental errors and mistakes are common, and it just feels like the team needs to bear down and concentrate on what they are doing.  They just don’t seem to have any fight in them right now. Kassian had his worst game as a Canuck, failing to record a shot or a hit in 13:55 of ice time.   He drew a penalty shot just 24 seconds into the game, but failed to get a shot off. In addition, coach Alain Vigneault has paired Edler and Gragnani on the PP – so now there are two left shots on one unit, and two right shots (Salo and Bieksa) on the other.  It looks awkward and ridiculous and the Canucks’ results speak for themselves. When the Canucks are going well, their D do a great job of knowing when, and when not, to pinch.  Tonight, bad pinches cost the team a plethora of odd-man rushes against.  Only bad bounces and luck kept Dallas from putting another three or four goals on the board. I’ve now officially had enough of Marc-Andre Gragnani.  I don’t ever notice him doing anything out on the ice, except for going ridiculous places while on the power play.  His presence on the power play, by the way, has led to Hamhuis being removed from the PP – and while Hamhuis isn’t a classic offensive defenseman, he did well there earlier this season and he usually makes a smart play. Burrows and Salo were both minus-3 on the night. Dallas took the lead on goals from Loui Eriksson and Mike Ribeiro before the period was out to take the 2-1 lead into the locker room.The third period was all Stars.  Jamie Benn, snakebit most of the night, finally scored four minutes into the third after what can most kindly be described as a fire drill in the Canucks’ zone.  Alex Edler, against the run of play, replied just three minutes later for the Canucks, his shot deflecting off the stick of Dallas defenseman Mark Fistric past Bachman. Ribeiro restored the Stars’ two goal lead just over three minutes later after another defensive breakdown in the Canucks’ zone, continuing a common theme in the period.  Stephane Robidas, an impressive plus-4 on the night, scored into an empty net to tally Dallas’ final goal.It’s difficult to find a silver lining from tonight’s game.  The Canucks were horrible all over the ice in the last 25 minutes of the game.  Defensive breakdowns became the norm,with all of the top-4 defensemen looking brutal at one point or another. The Canucks didn’t play with any passion, physicality, or desire, as apparently they didn’t learn any lessons from Saturday’s game against Buffalo. Offensively, the team struggled as well, the top line of Sedin/Sedin/Burrows failing to score in what is becoming another disturbing trend.  Roberto Luongo can’t really be faulted for any of the goals against, but a huge save here or there at a key moment would be helpful.The Canucks are in the midst of a rough patch.  Since Christmas, the team has been faced with some bad road trips and going through this period, they have struggled to put good efforts on the ice with any consistency.  They have been lucky to get great goaltending and some timely scoring, which has salvaged a point here and there – but things appear to be coming home to roost right now.  Hopefully the Canucks can soon get out of this funk. GAME OBSERVATIONS The Canucks are showing some disturbing trends at the moment.  Most recently, they have allowed five goals against in each of the last two games, a staggering amount for this team. They just appear completely discombobulated in their own end. In the last couple games, the defense has been an unmitigated disaster.  Hamhuis, normally one of the steadiest defenders in the entire league, has looked shaky, as has his normal partner Kevin Bieksa.  Alex Edler remains maddeningly inconsistent – some nights he plays the way that made him an all-star, but more often lately, he appears to be a nothing more than a tentative young player.  Tonight, he was horrible on two important goals against – the second one, where he was caught on a pinch, and the pivotal third, where his failure to get the puck past the Jamie Benn led to an Alex Burrows turnover, Edler chasing in his own zone, and failing to pick up Benn who buried a shot past Luongo.  It was an absolutely horrendous stretch for the young Swede. Vigneault continues to underutilise his fourth line.  The Canucks’ fourth line has good, dependable players – Lapierre, Malhotra, and now Raymond (or, in the past, Kassian, Weise, Bitz, etc.).  They were again on the ice less than 10 minutes. For the Stars, their first line of Ribeiro/Eriksson/Ryder was very good tonight, as was the second line of and Adam Burish.  Both lines threatened to score on numerous occasions.  After being out of a playoff position, they now lead the Pacific Division. Leigh Ramsden lives in Vancouver and is an avid Canucks fan, having been a partial season ticket holder for over 10 years. He’s old enough to have witnessed all three Stanley Cup losses, as such, his prime goal is to remove those scars by seeing a Cup brought to Vancouver. Leigh is Fighting For Stanley’s ( west coast correspondent, and will also blog after all Canuck games for The Nelson Daily.The Vancouver Canucks played the third game in their current seven-game homestand on Tuesday night at Rogers Arena against the visiting Dallas Stars.  Vancouver was completely outclassed in this matchup, dropping a horrible 5-2 decision to the visitors.  It was the first time the Canucks have lost back to back games in regulation since early November.It’s now six games and counting for downright bad offensive performances from the Canucks.  The offense, long a staple of this team, seems to have completely deserted them.  For long stretches tonight, it looked like the Canucks would be OK, as they nursed a one-goal lead to the last TV timeout of the second period. From there, it was all Dallas, who scored twice before the second period was out, added another one early in the third, and coasted to the easy victory.Chris Higgins, easily the Canucks’ best player, had a goal and an assist in what was Vancouver’s only silver lining.  Higgins opened the scoring at 6:45 of the second period, beating Dallas goalkeeper Richard Bachman with a nice wrist shot off the rush.  Steve Ott was great out there tonight.  The game left me wishing that we were able to get him out of Dallas at the deadline. PARTING SHOTSBroadcast Observation of the Day:  If I have to listen to Shorthouse talk about Garrett’s eating habits one more time, I am going to lose it.  Constant references to what he likes to eat while on the road are annoying and irrelevant.Dan Murphy had a good interview with Daniel Sedin after the game.   The Sedins are good – they never avoid the media and are always there to own up to shortcomings (theirs and the team’s) after games like this.  Daniel appeared calm, happy with his line’s game, and didn’t appear panicked at all – as one would expect.Looking ahead: The Canucks continue their homestand and will attempt to put this one behind them when they face the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night.last_img

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