VANCOUVER, B.C. – Alex Burrows sure knows how to celebrate a new contract.
Burrows scored twice Tuesday night as the surging Vancouver Canucks continued their drive for an NHL playoff berth with a 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild. The goals started and capped a comeback from a 2-0 deficit. In between Burrows’s goals, Pavol Demitra and Steve Bernier scored 28 seconds apart to give Vancouver a 3-2 lead late in the second period.
Burrows’ scoring heroics came after it was announced he had agreed to a four-year contract extension that will pay US$8 million to the 27-year-old winger from Pincourt, Que., who was undrafted as a junior.
He gave the Canucks a two-goal lead in the third period when he took Henrik Sedin’s pass and burst in on goalie Niklas Backstrom for his career-high 18th goal of the season.
Demitra tied the game after sustained Vancouver pressure and Bernier counted what proved to be the winner late in the second period.
The Canucks found themselves down two goals after Minnesota’s first four shots of the game as Dan Fritsche and Marek Zidlicky counted for the Wild who took advantage of Canuck turnovers in the first period.
The win was a season-high sixth straight at home for the Canucks (33-22-8), who have won 11 of their last 13 games since ending an eight-game losing skid.
Fifth-place Vancouver needed the victory to remain four points ahead of Columbus, who are sixth in the tight Western Conference.
The Wild, who haven’t beaten Vancouver in regulation time this season, lost their fourth straight game, slipped to 30-27-5 and remained out of a playoff position in the West.
Demitra tied the game when Mats Sundin, who fell when he stepped on the puck in the neutral zone, recovered to tip it ahead to his linemate and Demitra shot past Backstrom’s glove. Earlier in the second period, where the Canucks outshot the Wild 16-4, Demitra ended a long sequence in the Minnesota zone when he fired over the end glass.
Bernier skated between two defenders to recover a puck that he snapped behind Backstrom who couldn’t get set for the shot.
That dug the Canucks out of a first-period hole where a giveaway by goalie Roberto Luongo and a power-play goal gave the Wild a 2-0 lead seven minutes 26 seconds into the game.
Luongo went behind his net to backhand the puck to the corner but Colton Gillies intercepted it.
The Vancouver netminder got a stick on Gillies’s goalmouth pass, but so did Fritsche who tipped in his second goal in five games with the Wild’s first shot of the contest.
Zidlicky then drilled a power-play blast through traffic for a two-goal advantage. The puck dipped and went through Luongo’s legs.
Burrows halved the margin before the period ended by tipping Willie Mitchell’s point shot behind Backstrom, whose new $24-million, four-year deal was also announced Tuesday.
The goal came just as Wild defenceman Kim Johnsson stepped on the ice after serving an interference penalty.
Notes: The Canucks play 14 games in March against teams competing with them for a Western Conference playoff berth … Vancouver plays its final regular-season game against Minnesota on the road March 31 … Owen Nolan returned to the Wild lineup after missing three games with the fracture of the big toe on his left foot … Minnesota enforcer Derek Boogard sat out the second of a five-game suspension for an elbow to the head of Calgary Flame Brandon Prust.