VANCOUVER – Acid can be less abrasive than Alex Burrows.
The Vancouver Canucks forward can be irritating like loud static in your headphones, frustrating like a computer that eats all your work on Friday afternoon.
Burrows bugs even his own teammates.
“I know he’s irritating because he irritates most guys in practice,” defenceman Kevin Bieksa said with a grimace.
The more Burrows rubs the Los Angeles Kings the wrong way, the better Vancouver’s chances are of winning the second game of their first-round NHL playoff series Saturday night (CBC, 10 p.m. ET).
Burrows was robbed on two good scoring chances by Kings netminder Jonathan Quick in Thursday’s opening game of the series, which Vancouver won 3-2 in overtime.
He also spent a lot of time yapping at L.A. defenceman Drew Doughty. At times the officials had to step in between the players.
“It’s just nice to know the kid a little bit,” Burrows deadpanned Friday after practice. “We are going to face him a lot.
“We were having a good time. It’s playoff energy, it’s playoff intensity.”
Veteran Kings defenceman Sean O’Donnell said the best way to deal with Burrows is ignore him.
“I’ve never spoken to him or yapped back at him,” said O’Donnell. “You can’t win with those guys because he feeds off that.
“He seems to be effective when he’s yapping, talking to guys and trying to get under their skins.”
The Canucks outshot L.A. 44-27 on Thursday and controlled most of the game.
Kings captain Dustin Brown said it’s no secret his team needs to get more pucks on the net.
“We need to produce more offensive opportunities,” said Brown, who had one assist in the series opener. “They outchanced us and we were still in it.
“Our power play has been good. We need to get more five-on-five and that’s a matter of going back to the forecheck. We’re not going to have the cute rush plays some of the Vancouver lines get. If we get it deep, that’s when we can create a lot of offence.”
Burrows expects the Kings to show the same don’t-quit attitude in Game 2.
“They played a solid road game,” he said. “I’m sure tomorrow night they are going to work even harder and make even better plays.
“We have to make sure we step it up too.”
Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo said the Kings will bring a sense of urgency to Saturday’s game. They don’t want to head back to L.A. down 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.
“They probably came in here to get a split,” said Luongo. “We want to hold court.
“Tomorrow’s game is more important than last night.”
O’Donnell said it would be “unfortunate” to lose both games in Vancouver.
“Going down 2-0 is never fun,” he said. “You have to win four out of five games. Against (Vancouver) that’s a tough thing to do.
“We’ll throw everything at them tomorrow and see what happens.”
L.A. scored twice on the power play Thursday. One of the goals came on a five-minute major and game misconduct handed to Andrew Alberts for driving Brad Richardson into the boards.
Bieksa said Vancouver needs to tighten up defensively.
“They demonstrated they are going to have a pretty good power play this series,” said Bieksa. “A few chances around our net, maybe we want to do a better job boxing out.
“They bring pucks to the net hard, they have some big, strong forwards. These are all areas of the game we can improve on. That’s what you have to do in a seven-game series, get better each game.”
Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin was still shaking his head over a play in the second period when Anze Kopitar’s swung his stick and it became wedged between Sedin’s visor and helmet.
No penalty was called on the play. A member of Vancouver’s training staff had to pull Kopitar’s stick free.
“The ref told me he was very gentle with his stick,” shrugged Henrik, who had two assists. “He didn’t want to make the call.
“That’s the way it is.”
Kopitar could only shake his head over the incident.
“It was one of those things where I skated into him, he skated into me,” Kopitar said. “I honestly don’t know how that stick ended up in his face.”
Burrows is one of those players you love on your team, but hate playing against. The six-foot-one native of Pincourt, Que., has a motor mouth and an engine that never quits.
He can bruise someone by taking them into the boards, or send them over the edge by constantly talking in their ear.
“I’ve toned it down compared to my first couple of years,” Burrows said. “If someone talks to me, I am more than willing to talk back.”
Burrows has proven he’s more than talk. Playing on a line with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, he had a career-high 35 goals, 32 assists and 67 points this season.
“He makes life easy for me and (Henrik),” said Daniel Sedin. “He makes plays, he works so hard, gets pucks to us.
“It’s a pleasure playing with him.”
Daniel admits he sometimes shakes his head over things Burrows says to other players.
“I will let him take care of that,” he said. “That’s always been part of his game and he does it very well.”
Burrows became embroiled in controversy this season when he accused referee Stephane Auger of making bad calls against him to even a personal grudge.
The comments earned Burrows a fine from the NHL.
Burrows makes no apologies over his style. It’s one of the reasons he battled his way from hockey’s fringes in the ECHL to the NHL.
“I’ve always played like that,” he said. “I am an emotional guy. I want to win.
“If that’s what it takes to put us over the hump (fine)… It’s part of the game.”
The series returns to Los Angeles for games Monday and Wednesday.