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Canucks suddenly shaky after ugly losses in Boston games

by | CBSSports.com
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BOSTON -- Those Vancouver Canucks came into town with such promise.

I know it's hard to remember, because after another drubbing -- this time via a 4-0 Boston Bruins victory in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday night -- it seems like that occurred around the time of Sam Adams.

Canucks-Bruins: Game 4
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Twelve goals allowed, one chased goalie and a suspension later, the Canucks have turned out to be softer than the ice at TD Garden. If only the answer for Vancouver's mushy play could be blamed on the muggy climate here in New England.

"If you are frustrated now, that's a problem," said Canucks forward Henrik Sedin, the league's top assist man in the regular season who has yet to net a point in the Finals. "It's a best-of-3 now. We have home-ice advantage. Sometimes in the playoffs, things happen."

Or didn't happen as was the case the last couple games for the Canucks. Vancouver went 0 for 14 on the power play while in Boston. (They are 1 for 22 in the series overall). To compound the lack of scoring, the Canucks also allowed two short-handed goals in Game 3.

"We got to be a lot better for sure," Sedin said. "That's helped us throughout the season and throughout the playoffs, but now it's hurting us more. We lost momentum and they gain momentum on their [penalty kill]."

Add in some missed assignments in transition and the unsteady play by their all-world goalie, Roberto Luongo, and the Canucks bore little resemblance to the team that gave up the fewest goals per game in the regular season. Luongo, who allowed just two goals in of the first two games, was pulled in the third period on Wednesday, but not after he allowed 12 goals on 58 shots in Games 3 and 4.

"Lou is going to be fine," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "He's one of the best goaltenders in the league. We've got a lot of trust and faith in him [and] his ability to play well."

Actually, Luongo didn't get much help on any of the Bruins' goals, including the second of the game scored by Michael Ryder that bounced off defenseman Sami Salo's stick.

"Sami tried to block it and it was going high glove and it dropped about three feet, so I don't know what else I could say about that," Luongo said. "I was ready and it just dropped. Obviously, it's probably going to be viewed as a bad goal and I don't know what else to do on that play."

While the Sedin twins have all of two points (both by Daniel) in the series and the power play lacks punch, the Canucks' lack of defense has to be the most troubled segment in their two games in Boston. The team that was once deep on defense is now stretched thin due to the injury to Dan Hamhuis and the suspension of Aaron Rome. Rome was given a four-game ban for a Game 3 check that left Boston's Nathan Horton with a severe concussion.

Keith Ballard, who replaced Rome in the lineup, was a minus-2 in Game 4.

"Obviously for Keith, [it's] not easy to be put in this situation," Vigneault said. "But that's the situation he's in."

"It was a tough game," Ballard said. "We didn't play well as a team and I don't think I played very well individually."

There has to be something that's gone right for the Canucks, right?

"We had good first periods in both games," Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. "That's about all right now."

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