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Alex Burrows of the Canucks is modest about his legend label

VANCOUVER, B.C. - Alex Burrows says he has a way to go before reaching legendary status in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

But the feisty forward is getting there after scoring the series-ending goal against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night with 19 seconds remaining in the first overtime period.

"The guys were just trying to get ready for the overtime and a few of the leaders were speaking up ... how good of a feeling it would be to score that big goal," Burrows said in an interview Wednesday.

"(Goalie) Roberto (Luongo) said, 'just get one boys.' That's what it was going to come down to and guys were saying legends are born in the playoffs by scoring big goals to kill another team."

Burrows, who had a career-high 28 goals in the regular season, was a force against the Blues, prompting some teammates to tag him with the legend label after his goal eliminated St. Louis.

He scored twice Tuesday and his three goals in four games ranks him second in Stanley Cup scoring, one behind Evgeni Malkin of Pittsburgh.

In addition to his regular shift on Vancouver's top line with identical twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin, he also killed penalties and got some power-play shifts.

After the desperate Canucks killed a four-minute high-sticking penalty to Ryan Kesler, Burrows beat netminder Chris Mason by skating hard into the Blues zone and firing from a sharp angle.

But is that the stuff of legends?

Not yet, says Burrows, a late-bloomer out of junior hockey who played for three East Coast Hockey League clubs before catching on with the Manitoba Moose, the Canucks' AHL farm team.

"But as a kid that's what you dream of ... scoring that big overtime goal," Burrows said. "It wasn't for the Stanley Cup but it was still a big goal and we'll take it this time of year."

Burrows, whose nickname is "Burr" because he has gets under an opponent's skin, was promoted to the top line on Feb. 10 and has scored other timely goals for the Canucks.

The biggest prior to Tuesday ended an eight-game losing streak and it triggered a 23-7-2 run that enabled the Canucks to not only make the playoffs but win the Northwest Division.

Tuesday was also his fourth two-goal game of the season. Another came in a winning effort the night he agreed to a four-year, US$8-million contract extension.

Coach Alain Vigneault said it wasn't an easy decision to play Burrows on the No. 1 line because he and Kesler were providing offence despite being a shutdown defensive pairing.

They were the Canucks' second-best duo behind the Sedins and there was a need to accommodate Mats Sundin who joined the club in mid-season as a US$5.6-million free agent.

"Right now it looks like a simple decision but it was more challenging than it looks," the coach said.

Vigneault said he challenged Burrows to be better after the Canucks went 1-7 to end last season and missed the playoffs.

"I was very specific when that season ended that if he didn't pick it up he wouldn't like where he'd start the next season." The carrot-topped Sedins certainly like where Burrows has landed.

The six-foot-one, 197-pound forward from Pincourt, Que., meshes well with their near-telepathic cycling of the puck deep in the attacking zone.

But he hasn't turned the twins into triplets, said Daniel.

"He's going to have to get some red hair first. But he's so smart out there, he's easy to play with, easy to read."

Henrik said even though Burrows began in Vancouver as a defensive specialist and fourth-line agitator he could see an offensive upside.

"All three of us see the ice pretty well and we're able to turn a lot of pucks over and that creates more two-on-ones and three-on-twos that we never had before," Henrik said.

The Canucks could wait until May 1 before they face a second-round opponent but neither Burrows nor the Sedins expect they'll become stale.

"I don't think this time of year you can get too much rest," said Burrows. "We're going to have good practices, high pace and probably a couple of bag skates in there."

Daniel Sedin said a lack of rest two years ago after a taxing seven-game series against the Dallas Stars was a factor when eventual Stanley Cup champion Anaheim eliminated Vancouver in five second-round games.

"If you can get rest, you'll need it down the stretch," he said. "It's not going to be a problem going into the next series. If you can't get up for a playoff game, something's wrong."

Vigneault said there's nothing negative about time off during the playoff marathon.

"We're going to use this time to make us better."

NOTES: Sundin and Sami Salo, out with lower body injuries, remain listed as day-to-day but are expected to return for second-round play ... Salo had a goal and three assists in three games before his injury, Sundin a goal in two games ... the only other time the Canucks swept a first-round playoff series was in 1982 when it was a best-of-five affair ... the Calgary Flames were the victims and the Canucks went on to the Stanley Cup final where they were swept by the New York Islanders.


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