Canucks suffer 'embarrassing' loss, go down 7-4 to New York Islanders (VIDEO)
It was pretty convincing, for a while. After Ryan Kesler's 3-0 goal, it really seemed like this one wasn't just wrapped up – it seemed like it was never in doubt, like the 60 minutes were just a formality and the Canucks could cruise to the finish line untested, unworried.
Problem is, the Canucks believed it, too. And Vancouver let the lead evaporate and seesaw the other way, eventually losing 7-4 to a John Tavares-less Islanders team.
"This is a kick in the teeth," Vancouver's head coach John Tortorella said, post-game (NHL.com). "It will take more than the normal coach speak to get by it."
With the loss, the Canucks moved even further away from eighth place in the West – still four points back of the Stars but with only 15 games remaining to Dallas's 18.
(The Stars' game against Columbus was postponed after Dallas forward Rich Peverley collapsed on the team's bench. Peverley was taken to hospital and is reportedly in stable condition and is "doing well".)
"Blowing it like that, it's embarrassing," said Vancouver forward Ryan Kesler, before he took a jab at the team that just beat his Canucks:
"Give them credit, but let's be honest, that's not one of the top teams in the League."
Vancouver took a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes off goals from Chris Higgins, Henrik Sedin, and Ryan Kesler. It was Henrik's first goal in 23 games and things finally appeared peachy on the Pacific coast.
But with one goal by Josh Bailey, just 1:13 into the final frame, the bubble popped and the Canucks' lead evaporated.
The New York Islanders evened the game with three powerplay goals in the first 3:36 of the third period – the second goal on a 5-on-3 with both Kevin Bieksa and Nicklas Jensen in the box – and Frans Nielsen got the go-ahead at the 6:22 mark.
Canucks defenceman Chris Tanev stopped the bleeding and briefly halted the embarrassment with the 4-4 goal at 9:54, but the Isle answered back with a Matt Martin goal just 10 seconds later.
Anders Lee and Cal Clutterbuck added the final two for New York.
Ryan Strome and Calvin de Haan had the second and third goals for the Islanders, who scored all seven of their goals in the third period.
Canucks goalie Eddie Lack made 21 saves on 27 shots. (Clutterbuck's goal came with an empty net.)