'There's no excuse for that'

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 8:28 AM ET

Vancouver Canucks have lost all three exhibition games and are scoreless in the shootout.

"There's no excuse for that," head coach Marc Crawford said after Saturday's 4-2 home loss to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. "We have to be better."

The next game is tonight against the Flames in Calgary. It'll be the teams' first meeting since the first round of 2003's Stanley Cup playoffs. Canucks travel to Anaheim on Wednesday before returning to General Motors Place to host the Flames on Friday and Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.

Exhibition records don't count, but the Canucks did have sub-par exhibition schedules in 1981 (2-7) and 1993 (3-4-2) before embarking on seasons that ended with trips to the Stanley Cup finals.

Goalies Dan Cloutier and Brent Johnson allowed two goals apiece to the Ducks on Saturday. Scott Niedermayer led Anaheim with a goal and an assist and was the second successful shooter in a post-game demonstration of the NHL's new shootout tiebreaker.

On Friday, Steve Bernier beat goalie Alex Auld with the only goal in the shootout to help the Sharks beat the Canucks 4-3 at GM Place.

Meanwhile, Canucks cut their roster to 34 by demoting right-wingers Marc-Andre Bernier, Adam Keefe and Jeff Schultz and centres Craig Darby, Rick Rypien and Brandon Nolan to the American Hockey League's Manitoba Moose.

Regular season begins Oct. 5.


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