VANCOUVER – A breakout night from Alex Burrows and a franchise record for fastest goal to start a game were overshadowed by a myriad of negatives for the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.
Vancouver’s anemic power play was foiled for the 11th straight game, David Booth left with another injury, and the Canucks were unable to sustain any offensive momentum in a disappointing 5-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings.
The end result was Vancouver’s 10th loss in its past 15 games, and the Canucks dropping to seventh place in the Western Conference as the Minnesota Wild leapfrogged them for first place in the Northwest Division and third place in the conference.
It’s a big change for a team that has finished with the best record in the league the past two seasons.
“There’s still plenty of games left,” said defenceman Kevin Bieksa. “If I remember correctly last year according to media we were the worst team ever to win the President’s trophy. We’re just focused on the next game. We’re not worried about President’s trophies or anything like that. Obviously it wasn’t our best effort.”
The game started on the right note for Vancouver.
Just six seconds in, Burrows took a feed from Daniel Sedin on a 2-on-1 and one-timed a slap shot off the post and in. It was the fourth fastest goal in NHL history and the fastest in Canucks history.
Burrows, who had his best offensive game of the season, could have had several more goals.
He was robbed by a sprawling Jimmy Howard late in the first period, then fumbled the puck on a short-handed second period breakaway before adding his second goal of the game late in the third period.
Burrows improved to seven goals on the season, which would give him 21 over a full 82-game schedule. Over the past four seasons he hasn’t had less than 26 goals per campaign.
“It wasn’t my best night but I got on the scoreboard,” said Burrows. “At the end of the day, if I keep shooting pucks and going to the net I’m going to get some bounces sooner or later, and tonight I got some offensively. I’ve got to bring that overall game and be better.”
Vancouver’s power play also has to improve.
After finishing first in the league with the man advantage in 2010-11 and fourth last season, the Canucks were 27th in the league heading into Saturday’s contest.
Vancouver went 0 for 6 against the Wings and was held shotless on a 1:20 two-man advantage midway through the third period, drawing boos from an exasperated sellout crowd of 18,910.
After the fruitless man advantage, hundreds of fans filed for the exits.
“Obviously it’s not working, and that would be an understatement,” a frustrated Alain Vigneault said of the man advantage, which is zero for its past 30 attempts. “And those are our top players.”
The Canucks received more bad news late in the first period when Booth pulled up lame in the Detroit zone. After a scrum in the corner, Booth got up and put no weight on his left leg as he slowly glided to the bench.
Booth, who was seen leaving Rogers Arena on crutches and with a walking boot, will have an MRI on Monday.
“He was starting to play well for us, bringing a lot of energy and some grit for us,” said Burrows. “It’s tough to see him go down.”
The Canucks face Minnesota on Monday in a battle for first place in the Northwest Division.