Canucks collapse in third period, drop seventh straight

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They can’t score. They can’t hold on to the lead. And so the Vancouver Canucks will head into the Olympic break having lost seven straight games.

The Canucks claimed a 1-0 lead on the Toronto Maple Leafs after two periods but gave up three unanswered goals in a 3-1 loss before a national Canadian television audience. Dating back to the end of December, the Canucks have just four wins in their last 20 games, and have fallen out of a playoff position in the battle for the two Western Conference Wild Card spots.

Injuries have taken their toll. The Canucks were without captain Henrik Sedin, who is out with a rib injury and will miss the Sochi Olympics as a result. Mike Santorelli is gone for the remainder of the season after shoulder surgery. No Kevin Bieksa or Chris Tanev on the blue line, either.

Toronto’s goals – from former Canuck Mason Raymond, Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk – came in a span of four minutes and 42 seconds. The Leafs got a fortunate bounce on the van Riemsdyk goal – the puck deflected up in the air and then hit off the body of Canucks’ defenseman Alex Edler and past Roberto Luongo.

The Leafs have now 11 wins in their last 14 games. So tonight’s match-up started as two teams headed in opposite directions and it finished that way, too.

The Leafs did, however, lose forward Jay McClement with an upper-body injury, the club announced at the start of the third period. McClement crashed awkwardly into the boards in the second period.