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Patrick Marleau's overtime goal eliminates Canucks

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

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Thanks to Patrick Marleau's overtime goal on Tuesday night the Vancouver Canucks are the first team to be eliminated from the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs with their 4-3 overtime loss.

It shouldn't be a huge upset that the Sharks won (San Jose has been playing extremely well, and the Canucks didn't seem to be up to their normal level this season) but the fact it ended in a four-game sweep should be somewhat of a surprise.

After allowing a late power play goal to Joe Pavelski to tie Tuesday's game and send it overtime, the Canucks again found themselves shorthanded when Daniel Sedin was sent off on a questionable boarding call to give the Sharks yet another man advantage. It was there that Marleau scored his fourth goal of the series when he tapped in a rebound that was sitting in the crease next to Canucks goalie Cory Schneider.

The Canucks will now enter what should be a fascinating offseason after a second straight first-round exit (in their past two playoff appearances the Canucks have a 1-8 record). For a team that's just two years removed from being one game away from winning the Stanley Cup, that's a pretty stunning fall and it's obviously not good enough.

So what do they do?

It's still a talented core that has had success, and relatively recently. A total house-cleaning shouldn't be in order (you wouldn't think so, anyway). Running into a team like the Kings that rolled through the playoffs last year like a buzzsaw and a Sharks team that looks like it's capable of doing the same this season hasn't helped matters, either.

But team's don't generaly respond well to losses like this and you can bet that some sort of change is coming.

Does coach Alain Vigneault become the fall guy?

He's still a very good coach, and would no doubt be on the short-list of candidates for teams in need of a new coach should he become available. But you can't get rid of all the players and the coach is usually the guy that gets let go when the team fails to reach expectations.

Once and for all the team has to figure out what it's going to do in net and solve the goaltending situation. Is the team convinced Cory Schneider is the guy? Or does it go back to Roberto Luongo? If it's the former, it has to do something with Luongo whether it's a trade or biting the financial bullet and using one of its amnesty buyouts on him. Something needs to be done. Not necessarily because of the controversy his presence brings with Schneider taking over as the starter, but because it just isn't a practical use of resources to have a backup goalie making more than $5 million a year for the next 10 years.

 
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