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Canucks paying big price for sloppy play

Thursday, 06.09.2011 / 1:43 AM / 2011 Stanley Cup Final - Canucks v Bruins

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer


BOSTON -- Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. Run it again.
 
How badly do you think Alain Vigneault wanted to use those words in Games 3 and 4? Maybe if Vancouver's coach could have stopped the play, told his players to retreat to their starting points and urged them to try again, the Canucks would have been able to get at least a few things right at TD Garden.
 
That luxury is, unfortunately, reserved strictly for practice when the coach has a whistle and all the power. The officials aren't about to offer the Canucks any do-overs in the Stanley Cup Final, but for 120 minutes in Boston they had to be wishing for some.
 
The Canucks regretted their sloppiness after Monday's 8-1 drubbing, saying that they needed better puck control and far fewer turnovers to bet the Bruins. They thought they'd be better in Game 4 on Wednesday.
 
They were wrong.
 
Vancouver again struggled to build on what was a decent first period and instead unraveled in the second. It wasn't as bad as Game 3, when they allowed four goals on 14 shots, but the Canucks are still heading home with the Stanley Cup Final even at two wins apiece after Boston took advantage of many more of their mistakes and cruised to a 4-0 victory in Game 4.
 
How does a team that was so sure-handed in Games 1 and 2 completely lose its handle in Games 3 and 4?
 
"I don't know if I can put my finger on it or what the reason is, but it's not too scary looking at it because those are things that are correctable," Vancouver center Manny Malhotra said. "Those are things that are in our hands."
 
Whether it was sloppy defense, goaltending, passes, penalties or shots, the Canucks couldn't find any sense of rhythm or semblance of their systems in Game 4. Their worst moment came with 6:31 left in the second period when Brad Marchand scored after Keith Ballard and Henrik Sedin each turned the puck over behind goalie Roberto Luongo to give Boston a 3-0 lead.
 
If you thought Ballard's turnover was bad (and it was), Henrik's might have been worse because it led directly to Patrice Bergeron shoveling the puck into the slot for Marchand to backhand past Luongo.
 
Still, Ballard's giveaway started the play.
 
"I need to be a little more simple," Ballard said. "I know that, and I can't have plays like that."
 
Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa said the ice conditions are partly to blame for the sloppy play.
 
"I think both teams were a little sloppier than they were in Vancouver because of the ice," he said. "It's unfortunate that it's a factor, but it's a factor and both teams are turning pucks over because of it. It's just a matter of not doing it as much as them."
 
They are -- and the Bruins are capitalizing.
 
"They're making us pay right now," Bieksa said. "And, the transition game is definitely in their favor. That's a strength of ours, and we'll get back to doing that."
 
They will, but only if they clean up their play. Turnovers are the worst enemy for what should be a speedy transition game, and right now the Canucks are guilty as charged.
 
"Uncharacteristically we had a lot of turnovers," Malhotra said. "The intensity and execution just wasn't there."

 
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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