It isn’t just Ryan Kesler the Canucks need, but Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and Alex Edler and Kevin Bieksa — and all the players at the top of the lineup.

The Canucks didn’t push forward until the game was all but over Monday, as Vancouver fell behind by three goals before losing 3-2 to the San Jose Sharks.

It was the 12th time in 16 National Hockey League games the Canucks, missing Kesler and several other injured players, have scored two or fewer goals.

There is little or no margin for error playing that way, and the Canucks made plenty of errors in the middle of the second period as they fell behind the Sharks one game and two nights after they were thumped 4-0 by the Edmonton Oilers.

“You look at all the good teams and they’re scoring at least three goals a game,” Canuck winger Chris Higgins said after generating a goal and assist in the final 23 minutes. “It’s tough to win games when you’re scoring two or less than two. We have to find a way to score some dirtier goals. We definitely need to do a better job responding to the goals scored against us.”

You wouldn’t think the Canucks could have a worse couple of minutes than they did Saturday in Edmonton. But you’d be wrong.

After surrendering three goals in 2:27 at the start of their loss to the Oilers, the Canucks surrendered three in 2:13 to the Sharks halfway through the second period.

“That was the game right there,” Canuck Alex Burrows said. “But I like how we responded; we responded much better than we did against Edmonton. We showed some character and tried to come back.

“We’ve got to be realistic. You look at our lineup; we’ve had a lot of young players taking their first steps in the NHL. If you start running and gunning with this kind of roster ... I’d rather try to play well defensively and not have those two or three minutes like we did tonight.”

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