In one of the most embarrassing performances by the Canucks since their chaotic, dark age of the late 1990s, Vancouver looked disheartened and disorganized while losing 6-1 Thursday to the Dallas Stars in a game that was supposed to mean something. Maybe it did.

Maybe it means that both Canuck coach John Tortorella and general manager Mike Gillis are powerless to stop the team's winter slide toward National Hockey League oblivion, and that the players are either too tired or too sick-and-tired to help themselves.

One day after Gillis failed to make a trade on deadline day, two days after Vancouver generated only a half-dozen scoring chances in another “must-win” game they lost in Phoenix, and five days since Tortorella risked player unrest by not starting soon-to-be-former Canuck Roberto Luongo in the Heritage Classic game, the team gave up three goals in 12 minutes against the Stars and looked close to hopeless.

“Absolutely, it's embarrassing,” Vancouver winger Jannik Hansen said. “It's not like we even played a whole lot worse than we did in Phoenix. (Goalie) Eddie Lack stood on his head in Phoenix and they weren't able to score on their chances; Dallas was able to score on their chances.

“We've had bad games in the past, but nothing like this. There's disbelief that we could play like this.”

Canuck captain Henrik Sedin said: “It's just embarrassing to be standing here after every game and talking about that we can't score, and losing games on stupid mistakes. It just the same old story every time.”

The only way to explain the relative closeness of the Canucks and Stars in the Western Conference standings is a misprint. A lot more than four points separate them.

The Canucks looked utterly overmatched. The Stars were faster, stronger, more engaged and more cohesive. But all they really had to do was wait for Vancouver to make mistakes, with and without the puck.

It was 1-0 after three minutes and 3-0 after 12. The Canucks have not scored that many goals in a game since Jan. 31.

But the worst part, the most troubling and terrifying aspect, was that this was the Canucks' response to their dismal 1-0 loss in Phoenix. This was the start of their “rally” after Ryan Kesler came down off the trading block Wednesday still wearing Canuck colours. This was the best that Tortorella, whose six-game suspension in January accelerated this disaster, could get from his team in the most important game of the season.