Thursday, March 13, 2014
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Burrows finally scores as Canucks edge Jets

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[March 13, 2014]  WINNIPEG, Manitoba  Alex Burrows swatted the monkey off his back with authority.

The Vancouver Canucks left winger scored his first two goals of the season, tying the game on both occasions, in a 3-2 shootout victory over the host Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday night. The win was a return to Burrows' old stomping grounds. Burrows played parts of three seasons with the AHL's Manitoba Moose from 2003-06.

Burrows said his Canuck teammates were major supporters through his slump as he finally got some good fortune near the goal, calling both "lucky bounces".

"It was nice. The puck was finding me around the net," Burrows said. "I know (my teammates) were pulling for me for a long time, and they want the best for me. "You just have to keep believing in yourself, pushing yourself and working hard."

With the Canucks having lost their last seven road games and four of five overall and the Winnipeg Jets coming in as losers of four straight, one streak was going to break. In the end, Vancouver stemmed its slide with a 3-2 shootout victory as left winger Chris Higgins scored the only goal of the shootout, deking Winnipeg goaltender Ondrej Pavelec.

Vancouver improved to 30-28-10 and now has 70 points, bringing it to within four points of Dallas, which has the second and final wild-card playoff spot, though the Stars played three fewer games. The Jets slipped to 30-28-9 and now have 69 points.

The win was costly for the Canucks, as center Ryan Kesler did not return after a knee-on-knee collision with Jets center Jim Slater. Kesler's status was unavailable immediately after the game. Kesler skated gingerly to the Canucks bench and Slater received a two-minute tripping penalty on the play. Canucks coach John Tortorella said after the game Kesler would return to Vancouver to be re-evaluated as the Vancouver heads east for three more games to round out a road trip.

Canucks goalie Eddie Lack was sharp, making 32 saves just two nights after allowing six third-period goals in a 7-4 loss to the New York Islanders. The rookie goaltender stopped winger Andrew Ladd on a breakaway just under six minutes into the third as the Jets captain attempted to pull the puck past Lack's glove and increase Winnipeg's lead to 3-1. Pavelec, meanwhile, stopped 31 Vancouver attempts.

Lack avoided another third-period meltdown, stopping 15 of 16 shots and giving Vancouver a chance to pull out the win.

"It was important for me, for sure. It was a bounce-back game and I was happy we got the win," Lack said, adding he was "used to" to jeering from the home faithful in visiting rinks. "It felt like I was really focused from the start.

"It was a pretty big relief."

Tortorella, meanwhile, knew the Canucks were in tough in the third without Kesler, the Canucks' second-leading scorer with 40 points.

"Two out of the last three games, we've played well in the third period," he said, nodding to his side's 2-1 home victory over Calgary on Saturday. "Without Kes (Kesler), we hung together as a group.

The Jets opened the scoring 3:48 into the second period when Ladd took a feed from center Bryan Little and snapped a shot over the right shoulder of Lack. The goal was Ladd's 18th of the season.

[to top of second column]

Vancouver evened the score at 15:38 when defenseman Jason Garrison's point shot deflected off of Jets defenseman Keaton Ellerby and right to waiting left winger Alex Burrows, who deposited the puck into the goal. The tally was Burrows' first in his 36th game this season.

Right winger Michael Frolik tallied the 2:18 into the third period after receiving a pass from center Olli Jokinen and backhanding the puck past Canucks goalie Eddie Lack. The goal was Frolik's 13th of the campaign.

Burrows then batted a puck out of the air into the net to the left of Pavelec with 8:43 remaining in the third period.

Jets coach Paul Maurice felt the game was an even one where the Jets couldn't quite pull out the win.

"We put up 16 (shots) in the third, so we weren't sitting back," Maurice said. "It's a loss because of the shootout. It's a 2-2 game because of how it's played, and I think that's a pretty accurate assessment of the way the game went."

The game was a chippy one, as Canucks left winger Tom Sestito and Jets right winger Anthony Peluso fought just 2:25 into the game, with both players landing punches. There were a pair of 10-player scrums in the second. The first came after the Canucks took exception to a hit Little put on defenseman Dan Hamhuis at 7:54 of the second. Little was penalized for boarding while Burrows was sent off for roughing.

NOTES: The game was the 1,000th of Vancouver C Henrik Sedin's career, making him the first player to compete in 1,000 contests in Canuck colors. Sedin entered the game with 833 points, a franchise record. ... Winnipeg struggled in the faceoff circle this season, sitting tied for 28th with Calgary at 46.3 percent entering the game. However, the Jets had held the advantage in their previous four games, all losses, operating at a 56.1 percent clip. ... The game kicked off a three-game homestand for Winnipeg, who will host the New York Rangers on Friday and the Dallas Stars on Sunday before facing the host St. Louis Blues on Monday. ... The game was the first of a four-game road trip for the Canucks, who will travel east to face the Washington Capitals on Friday before facing the Florida Panthers on Sunday and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. Vancouver will then return home to face the Nashville Predators on March 19.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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