Commentary

Can Canucks bounce back from loss?

Updated: June 7, 2011, 2:27 AM ET
By Pierre LeBrun | ESPN.com

BOSTON -- Somewhere the San Jose Sharks might have been watching Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals on Monday night and saying, "Gee, we've seen that game before."

Just like the Boston Bruins on this night, the Sharks played their best in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals to make it a series after going down two games to nil.

The question now is whether the Vancouver Canucks will do exactly what they did against San Jose, bounce right back like nothing happened.

If their effort is anything like it was Monday night, when the Canucks suffered an 8-1 thumping at the hands of the Bruins, this is going to be a long series.

"I think it's better to lose 8-1 than to lose in overtime like they did," Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said. "It's not fun. We have a lot of pride in here. To do that in the playoffs, that's just not fun. But it's one game."

The Canucks were outhustled. They lost more puck battles than they won, and that speed game that gave Boston fits in the opening two games at Rogers Arena was nowhere to be seen Monday night. It is the Bruins that dictated play. And then some.

"We weren't sharp enough in a lot of areas," star winger Daniel Sedin said. "That's not good enough. Our passes, helping out our defensemen, our breakouts, our forecheck -- a lot of areas were not good tonight. We got a lot of shots, but a lot of shots were from the outside. We can be better in a lot of areas."

[+] EnlargeRoberto Luongo
AP Photo/Charles KrupaEven with the Canucks down big in the third, Roberto Luongo refused to let coach Alain Vigneault take him out of the game.

Hard to believe the Canucks possibly could have been intimidated by the raucous Boston crowd. They played in Chicago in the opening round, after all.

Perhaps it's just human nature to take the foot off the pedal when you are up 2-0. After all, this isn't the first time they have done it this postseason.

Now comes the gut check: Will the real Canucks come back right on cue Wednesday night? Or will this whipping have any residual effect?

"It doesn't matter. A loss is a loss," Canucks winger Alex Burrows said. "We've taken one game at a time all season, and we were No. 1 for that reason."

"In the playoffs, a loss is a loss," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "You lose in OT or you lose like we did tonight, it's a loss in the loss column. We're going to take tomorrow to analyze certain aspects of our game, then we're going to come here on Wednesday and we're going to get ready to play a good game."

They might want to start with their power play.

"What gave them momentum tonight was our power play, or lack of it," said Vigneault, whose team went 0-for-8 with the man advantage. "You know, that's been one of our biggest weapons all year long. It's kept the opposition real honest against us, especially on the road, if you look at our percentage. Tonight, obviously, we weren't good enough. I'm confident that this group will be good enough come next game."

Vancouver's much-vaunted power play, which entered the Stanley Cup finals humming at 28 percent, has now gone 1-for-17 in this series. Ugly. Even the much-maligned Bruins unit has more power-plays goals, three, than the Canucks.

"We got to change a few things," Henrik Sedin said. "I think we're too stationary. They stay in their box and keep us to the outside. We're not getting enough shots through. We'll have to take a look at it tomorrow. We didn't start out well [on the power play] against San Jose, but we made some adjustments and it got a lot better. So that's what we need to do."

Heck, throw in short-handed goals by Brad Marchand and Daniel Paille on Monday night and you've got one special teams battle that quite shockingly is going Boston's way through three games of the series.

"They scored on their power play tonight and they scored short-handed, that just can't happen, it's unacceptable," Daniel Sedin said. "You're not going to win games when you do that."

And what of Roberto Luongo? He might have been the leading contender for the Conn Smythe Trophy entering the game. Eight goals later, that isn't the case.

"Forget it, he didn't get the help he needed from us tonight," Daniel Sedin said. "He didn't get any support."

He's right. Luongo hardly was the only one to blame on this night. His team completely deserted him. But of import here is just how this performance affects him. He got lit up in back-to-back games against Chicago in the first round. The Canucks can't afford that kind of run again here in the Cup finals.

"I mean, I've been through it a few times in my career so, you know, I know what I need to do and I will be ready for Game 4," Luongo said.

That Vigneault left him in for all eight goals was Luongo's call.

"I thought at 4-0, going at the beginning of the third with a power play, we might be able to do something. That's why I kept him in," Vigneault said. "At 5-1, I asked him what he wanted to do. He said, 'Don't even think about taking me out.'"

You can also circle the Sedin twins in red for their performance. They certainly had a night to forget, one perhaps epitomized by Henrik Sedin getting hammered to the ice by Bruins goalie Tim Thomas in the third period, igniting the TD Garden crowd. The twins were barely noticeable, combining for a total of two shots on goal. That won't cut it if they want to return to Vancouver with a road split.

"We're going to be better, the whole team will be better," Daniel Sedin said.

He's rarely wrong when he says that.

Pierre LeBrun covers the NHL for ESPN.com.