Canucks toss one away against Avalanche

The Canucks took another step backwards tonight in their overall team play and showed a general lacking in their ambition and intensity levels. Was it a fatigue factor? An emotional struggle given the situation with Taylor Pyatt? Complacency because of a clinched playoff berth?  Or was it all of the above?

This was another blown chance to really but the heat on Calgary for the division crown, but now they are not only going to most likely have to win out the season, they also are going to have to rely on teams like the Kings and Oilers to pound on the Flames in their final games. If they don't win the division they most likely will not have home ice advantage in the playoffs, as the Blackhawks are 3 points up on them in 4th spot and are not slowing down.

The Canucks went on a marvelous streak since February and were bound to slow down eventually. It's just unfortunate that it's happening now with so much at stake and against teams like the Oilers and Avalanche, who they should be beating the holy hell out of.

Alain Vigneault is a bit confused as well.

"We didn't look like we had a lot of jump or a lot of legs tonight, for whatever reason," Vigneault said. "You might think we've played 10 games in 10 different cities and that might have taken it's toll, and I know our guys are a very tight group and their wives and girlfriends are very tight and obviously the Taylor situation is a little bit challenging. But I know we're stronger than what we showed tonight, even though it's 10 different games in 10 different cities and a very personal loss to one of our family members."

Roberto Luongo was a lot less laid back about it.

"There's no excuses tonight," Luongo said. "It was a game we needed to have and we all need to give a bit more, starting with myself. We're not a team that's going to make excuses. There's no reason to use that as an excuse. If anything, you want to play hockey for Taylor and get a win for the guy."

Is there anything else to add to that?

The Canucks did not have their legs moving enough until the end of the 3rd. The Avalanche clogged up the middle and the Canucks lost too many battles along the boards. They also missed the net on far too many chances and got no breaks. They didn't deserve any breaks. They didn't work for it.

The Avalanche blocked 21 shots. The Canucks 3 (probably all by Ryan Johnson-love that guy).

Lots of turnovers, misread plays, odd man rushes against, and broken passing plays, etc. Oh yeah, this was a stinker. The Flames must be laughing right now.

Alain Vigneault finally reunited Pavol Demitra with Sundin and Burrows just over half way through the game. I don't believe that demoting Demitra to the 3rd line since the loss to the Ducks was the right move anyway. I saw some spark return to that RPM Line after that, and some chemistry with Wellwood and Raymond. They will be better against Calgary.

I tip my hat to the 3rd and 4th lines. At least they showed something out there. Kyle Wellwood is probably the best forward out there right now..again.

As a fan, you just hope that the team is taking a few games off mentally and will return to their winning form soon. I believe that is the case. We know they generally fail against non-playoff teams. Well the next game is against the Flames. They have to be better against a formidable opponent, right?

More post game reactions from the players here.

BOXSCORE AND HIGHLIGHTS

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