How could his rested Vancouver Canucks put in such a listless effort against a team playing its second game in as many nights — one they're chasing in the Western Conference standings — especially after an emotional overtime victory that had a playoff-like atmosphere just 48 hours earlier?
"That's a good question," the Canucks' head coach said following Thursday's embarrassing 5-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks. "That was a big game for us. There was no reason for us to be on our heels."
Chris Tierney scored his first NHL goal and also added an assist, while Antti Niemi was rarely threatened in making 33 saves as San Jose (28-18-7) jumped on Vancouver in the first period and never really looked back.
"San Jose does have a team that a lot of times will put you on your heels early because they're fast," added Desjardins. "But they played last night and we knew what to expect. They shouldn't have been able to do that. They did."
Matt Irwin, Melker Karlsson, Joe Pavelski and Andrew Desjardins also scored for the Sharks, who got two assists each from Brent Burns and Logan Couture.
"At the end of the night you're really frustrated when you come off and you just feel you didn't get everything out there," said Desjardins. "For whatever reason we didn't get our best game out there. You can't do that. Night after night you've got to find your best game."
Vancouver defeated the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 in OT in a spirited encounter on Tuesday, but the club had little jump until it was too late on this night.
"It was definitely really frustrating," said Canucks forward Bo Horvat. "It was obviously not the effort that we wanted."
Radim Vrbata had the only goal for Vancouver (28-19-3), while Ryan Miller stopped 33 shots in the loss.
The Canucks won the first two meetings with the Sharks this season, but were down 1-0 after the first period thanks to Irwin's fourth of the season, and things got worse in the second.
Burns jumped on a Canucks' turnover at the blue-line and fired a shot that Karlsson tipped past a helpless Miller for his ninth of the season at 6:24.
San Jose, playing its fourth game in six nights, then put things out of reach when Vancouver defenceman Dan Hamhuis was assessed a tripping penalty before captain Henrik Sedin picked up an extra minor for unsportsmanlike conduct after protesting the original call.
The Sharks had controlled the puck for 90 seconds on the two-man advantage when Pavelski's pass from the side of the net deflected off a Vancouver stick and in for his 28th of the season at 19:45.
Niemi made a great save on a Vrbata breakaway early in the third to keep the hosts off the scoreboard and Tierney tipped home his first NHL goal moments later to make it 4-0 at 3:55.
"It's been a great couple days," said Tierney, who was summoned from the AHL on Wednesday. "It was pretty tiring yesterday, but when you get called up to play in the NHL, it doesn't matter, you aren't tired when you are out there. Your adrenaline is pumping."
Vrbata broke Niemi's shutout bid with his 20th of the season with under two minutes to go before San Jose's Desjardins rounded out the scoring with his third of the campaign with 4.7 seconds left.
The unusually candid Desjardins said the Canucks need to regroup quickly, beginning Saturday at Rogers Arena against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"We're too inconsistent right now from game to game," he said. "That's coaching, too. The coaches have to step up. That's (my) job to have guys ready and we weren't ready. I've got to find a better way to motivate these guys and get them on track."
Notes: San Jose's Patrick Marleau played his 1,300th career NHL game. ... Vancouver's Zack Kassian was a healthy scratch for the third straight game.Suggest a correction