Seeing Stars: Canucks in crisis mode

 

 
 
 
 
Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin, right, is stopped in the final seconds of the third period.
 

Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin, right, is stopped in the final seconds of the third period.

Photograph by: Ric Ernst, PNG

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THE SKINNY

The Canucks surrendered a first-period goal to Valeri Nichushkin and chased the game the rest of the night. Playing from behind is not a good thing when you can't score, and for the fourth straight game the Canucks scored only once, losing 2-1. They actually scored twice, but referee Rob Martell disallowed an apparent Henrik Sedin goal, ruling Daniel Sedin had contacted Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen. The call was Rob-Ford-bad, as there was little or no contact and, regardless, it did not affect the play. It has been seven years since the Canucks have had a scoring crisis like this.

MISMATCH

Technically, Erik Cole's 2-0 goal was the game-winner for the Stars, but it was Dallas first-period score that set back the Canucks. And it came with Vancouver's fourth line on the ice against Dallas' top unit. A few seconds after Brad Richardson, Jeremy Welsh and Tom Sestito scrambled on to the ice, unchecked Valeri Nichushkin converted Tyler Seguin's pass out from behind the Canuck net. When the fourth line surrendered a key goal in Phoenix two weeks ago, Tortorella claimed the blame. He seemed less charitable Sunday – Sestito and Welsh did not play again.

LINE DANCING

The return of two-way winger Jannik Hansen, who missed 10 games with a shoulder injury, spurred Tortorella to move Ryan Kesler back to the middle of the second line between Hansen and Chris Higgins. Alex Burrows, goal-less in 10 games this season, returned to the first line while Mike Santorelli dropped to centre on the third line, between David Booth and Zack Kassian. With a spine of Henrik Sedin, Kesler, Santorelli and Brad Richardson, the Canucks appear to be stronger at centre than they've been in nearly three years.

THIS AND THAT

Daniel Sedin had 10 shots for the Canucks, who outfired the Stars 43-23, including 33-13 in the first two periods. . . Henrik Sedin scored the Vancouver goal on a power play, but also missed a terrific chance to tie the game when he couldn't finesse the puck around or over Lehtonen's right pad in the final minute. . . Kesler led the Canucks with 25:02 of ice time, registered five hits, two blocks and two hits. But he was 6-15 on faceoffs. . . The four-game losing streak has left the Canucks three points out of a playoff spot, and nearly all the teams ahead of them in the conference have games in-hand.

 
 
 
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Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin, right, is stopped in the final seconds of the third period.
 

Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin, right, is stopped in the final seconds of the third period.

Photograph by: Ric Ernst, PNG

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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