Alex Burrows ends long scoring slump to help Canucks top Flames 3-2

Burrows capped a stellar individual effort by not only ending the lengthy drought but also scoring the winning goal to secure the Vancouver Canucks a 3-2 decision over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night. With the Canucks clinging to a 2-1 lead, the 25-year-old’s goal at 15:29 of the second period restored the two-goal lead Vancouver had following the first.

Darting down the wing on a 2-on-1, Burrows eluded Mark Giordano’s diving swipe at the puck, patiently waited for goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff to commit and go down, then reached back and tucked the puck inside the goal post.

“I thought I was going to shoot it, or go to my backhand maybe and try to roof it, but there was nothing there and I was lucky to be able to jam it in,” said Burrows, who last scored March 27, 2006. “It’s a good goal for me to get, especially with the bounces I’ve been getting lately.”

The pretty effort earned praise from his teammates.

“A great goal,” said Brendan Morrison, who had a goal and an assist. “He showed a lot of patience and some pretty nice hands there.

“It was a big boost for our team.”

Trevor Linden also scored for Vancouver (21-18-1), which won its fourth game in a row – the club’s longest winning streak of the season. All four wins have come against Northwest Division opponents.

“That’s been our Achilles heel until now, one we’ve been criticized for and rightly so, but now we’re finally starting to get things going,” Linden said.

The Canucks move into second spot in the tight Northwest Division, one point behind the Minnesota Wild. The Flames are one point back of Vancouver.

Matthew Lombardi scored a pair for Calgary (19-15-4), which lost for just the second time in 14 games at home, both losses coming against the Canucks.

“We didn’t come out prepared,” said Lombardi. “They came out ready to play and we let them take it to us.

“We weren’t ready and it showed.”

Burrows says the key to Calgary’s two recent wins has been getting a total team effort.

“Everybody knows that when you come in here, it’s going to be a really intense game,” Burrows said. “We know they’re a really good team and we need everyone in this locker room to bring everything to the table and work hard to beat them.”

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Down 2-0, Lombardi made it 2-1 six minutes into the second on his fourth short-handed goal of the year.

Sent in alone by Kristian Huselius, Lombardi fended off a diving backcheck by Kevin Bieksa, cut across the front of the Vancouver net and neatly pulled the puck around goalie Roberto Luongo. Lombardi is one short-handed goal behind league-leading Pittsburgh rookie Jordan Staal.

Although Calgary’s penalty killers did a good job killing off nine of 10 man advantages, Lombardi’s concern was the amount of time the Flames spent playing shorthanded.

“It impacts the flow of our game,” said Lombardi. “They get on the power-play moving the puck around, our guys on the (penalty kill) are out there a lot and getting tired while the other guys are sitting on the bench and are not getting the opportunity to get going.”

Lombardi pulled Calgary to within a goal again at 17:23 of the second. However, Luongo stopped all 13 shots he faced in the third, including a great glove stop on Byron Ritchie off a 2-on-1 with six minutes left.

Kiprusoff had 28 saves for Calgary. The Flames all-star goaltender has given up three or more goals in eight of his past nine starts.

In front of a boisterous sell-out crowd of 19,289 at the Pengrowth Saddledome, the two Northwest Division rivals were meeting for the fifth time in 25 days and the result was an emotional and physical game with numerous skirmishes.

Notes – Calgary D Dion Phaneuf leads the Flames with eight power-play goals . . . The Flames and Canucks meet just twice over the final three months of the season – Feb. 3 in Calgary and Mar. 31 at Vancouver . . . Vancouver RW Markus Naslund has gone 15 games without a goal. With 100 career power-play goals, he is three away from moving past Tony Tanti into top spot on the Canucks all-time list . . . Calgary D Andrei Zyuzin was a healthy scratch for the second straight game . . . Vancouver improved to 16-5-1 when scoring first.