At the end of the second period San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson walked through the press area alone with a big smile on his face.

Either someone had told him a very good joke or he was simply unconsciously reacting to what he had seen on the ice, which was his team dominating the Vancouver Canucks to a level that very few people in this town felt possible until witnessing the first period.

Had it not been for Roberto Luongo putting forward his best period of goaltending of the season, Vancouver would have been so far in arrears there would have been calls for a playoff mercy rule. They were better in the second period and the final score turned out to be close as playoff games in this league seem mandated to be, but there was no question which team looked far superior.

Let’s put it this way, when your best skater after Dan Hamhuis is Mason Raymond, you’re most assuredly in for a long night and most likely a short series.

The Vancouver explanations were many but none staved off the feeling that this is going to end exactly the same way as it did last season, out early to a team who finished below them in the standings. In fact they were far more plucky in the first game against LA last year than they were in this one.

The reasons for the comatose performances were many, not the least of which was the claim that Ryan Kesler was sick and not injured. That would be consistent with not showing up for the game day skate which everyone else turned up to, but it hardly explains his inability to push off to generate the least bit of power in his stride. In fact, he looked just like he did last season in the first round.

"I thought it was the best way for me to have the most energy for the game," said Kesler when asked why he opted out of the morning skate and after he had earlier claimed he was perfectly fine despite the fact he kept putting ice on the back of his neck. "I felt well enough to play. I just have to rest up and get ready for Friday."

If this game was an indication of all the Sedins have to give at this point, the Canucks’ window to win a Cup has closed faster than a big door in -40 degree weather at an old folks home.

Invisibility hardly begins to describe their performance but they were hardly alone. Let’s put it this way, when Raymond is you’re best skater up front, your concerns are significant.

Derek Roy and Chris Higgins actually appeared to have some jump through the first two periods but they didn’t play together in an attempt to rekindle the chemistry they showed earlier in the season until it didn’t matter. Vancouver’s only goal came on such a bizarre scramble in front of Antti Niemi in the San Jose goal that any number of players on either team could have actually put in the goal credited to Kevin Bieksa, who himself looks nowhere near healthy.

"We didn’t do anything particularly badly but all of us have to give that extra 5% to get some offence," said Daniel Sedin. "Lui was great, he saved us in the first period."