VANCOUVER, B.C. – Alex Burrows managed to do Thursday night what no other Vancouver Canuck has done in 23 years.
Burrows recorded his second-straight hat trick as the Canucks blanked the Phoenix Coyotes 4-0 on Thursday night.
He became the first Canuck to score three goals in consecutive games since Petri Skriko did it during the 1986-87 season.
“My linemates (Henrik and Daniel Sedin) found me a couple times there and made great plays and it makes my job a lot easier,” said Burrows.
“Right now I’m just getting shots through and they’re finding ways to beat goalies. Obviously it’s fun right now.”
Burrows helped Henrik Sedin and goaltender Roberto Luongo to historic moments of their own.
Sedin assisted on all three Burrows goals to move into sole possession of the NHL scoring lead, moving three points clear of San Jose’s Joe Thornton, and Luongo recorded his 50th career shutout after helping the Canucks get through a tough second period.
“It’s fun coming to the rink every day when you have linemates like this,” said Sedin. “We like playing with each other. We feed off of Burrows. He’s having a lot of fun, and that’s what you need on a line. It’s tough enough to be scoring as it is. And then, if you start working the area (around the net), it’s even tougher.”
Mikael Samuelsson also scored for the Canucks (27-16-1) as they posted their fourth straight win and 11th in the past 14 games. Vancouver moved into a tie with Calgary for first place in the Northwest Division, while the Coyotes dropped to 26-15-4.
No other Canuck has held top spot in the scoring race since Markus Naslund was tied with Robert Lang, now with Phoenix, on Feb. 18, 2004.
Burrows is having a lot of success playing with the Sedin twins.
“We’re finding ways to find each other,” said Burrows. “I thought in the first period we had great chances around net.”
Burrows scored the only goal the Canucks needed as he opened the scoring at 11:35 of the first period. He put a shot from a sharp angle over Phoenix goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who stopped 20 of 24 shots.
The Canucks’ chances, save for a stopped Mason Raymond penalty shot, were few and far between in the second. Phoenix outshot Vancouver 15-6 in the middle frame, but the close game was decided as Samuelsson put in Ryan Kesler’s sharp-angled pass from behind the net with only four seconds left in the second.
“You can point the finger at me on that one,” said Phoenix captain Shane Doan, who was trying to pin Kesler against the end boards at the time. “It’s my fault and it totally turns the tide. We kind of controlled the second period, but I dropped the ball on that one. As one of the guys on the team, one of the leaders, you can’t do that. It’s unacceptable.
“If I don’t give up that second then it’s a totally different game.”
Luongo, praising his defencemen for clearing rebounds and giving him clear views of the 31 shots he stopped, wasn’t in the mood to talk about his milestone. He noted he is well back of New Jersey netminder and Canadian Olympic teammate Martin Brodeur’s all-time shutout record.
“I’ve only got 50 . . . Once I get done, maybe we’ll talk about it more,” said Luongo, who posted his third shutout of the season.
Burrows scored his second goal of the night at 1:01 of the third after Daniel Sedin angled a pass out front from behind the net and then Henrik Sedin sent the puck back the other way to Burrows as he cut towards the goal.
Burrows converted another pretty passing play with the Sedins at 4:56 as fans littered the ice with hats.
“Obviously, that line right now is playing with a lot of confidence and making some great plays that only they can see and pick up,” said Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault. “And the other team, obviously, is having some big issues trying to shut those guys down.”
Henrik Sedin extended his points streak to eight games. But he was much more interested in talking about his team’s strong play.
“Like I said before, that’s what good teams do,” said Henrik Sedin. “They put a lot of wins together. We need to keep going here.”
Notes: Vancouver defenceman Aaron Rome left the game after he was blindsided by former Canuck Taylor Pyatt in the first. Rome’s head bled profusely after it hit the ice, but Vigneault said he received a few stitches and is “fine” . . . Vancouver forwards Steve Bernier and Kyle Wellwood and Phoenix counterpart Petr Prucha all played the 300th game of their respective careers. …Phoenix centre Daniel Winnik returned to the lineup after missing five games with an upper-body injury. … Samuelsson’s goal was the 100th of his career. …The financially-struggling Coyotes don’t get much face time with their fans. Their longest home stand of the season, which begins Saturday against the New York Islanders, is just six games. It also ranks as the Coyotes’ longest home stand since 2005-06, when they played 10 straight in Phoenix.