Friday, March 19, 2004

Canucks continue to struggle

As the playoffs edge closer and closer, the Canucks continue to have problems getting things out of first gear. Thursday night saw them head into Dallas and a possible Playoff preview game, by the end of the night; the result might give the staunchest Canuck fan cause for pause. Dallas was quite convincing in their 3-0 shutout of the Canucks tonight.

If it’s a Dallas/Vancouver match up it’s a definite advantage Dallas. The Stars have won all three games this year against Vancouver, a 6-1 record over two years. Philippe Boucher, Jason Arnott and Bill Guerin the marksmen for the Stars, Marty Turco registering the shut out on 20 shots, his 20th shut out in his career. Canucks goaltender Dan Cloutier was pulled from the game after two periods, suffering a “lower body” injury, Johan Hedberg taking his place in the nets for the third period. While not described as severe, Cloutier will miss Friday night’s game in Chicago, Alex Auld getting the call to leave the Moose behind in Winnipeg and head for Chicago.

With Ed Jovanovski, Brad May, Henrik Sedin and of course Todd Bertuzzi out of the line up, the Canucks were physically battered by the larger Stars. A point not lost on Marcus Naslund who identified the strength and skill of the Stars first line as the key to the Stars’ win tonight.

This Canuck team is a lot different than the one dressing less than two weeks ago. A team originally designed to do a lot of hitting in the corners and crashing the front of the net, now has to find new ways to get some scoring. The good news for Canucks fans is that it's March 19th and not April 19th, so there is time to get things fixed. Whether Marc Crawford can get them all on the same page by playoff time, is the big question.

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