VANCOUVER, B.C. – Alex Burrows deflected the puck into his own net, was the victim of a boarding penalty and even had a goal disallowed.
Instead of getting upset, he kept his temper in check and helped the Vancouver Canucks to another win.
Burrows scored a goal, his fourth in four games, and started the play that led to Christian Ehrhoff’s go-ahead goal early in the third period as the Canucks beat the Dallas Stars 4-3 on Thursday.
In the process, the 29-year-old winger who was never drafted and started his career as a defensive forward, extended his points streak to 10 games.
“I think that’s probably a first time,” said Burrows of his streak. “It’s something special, obviously, when I’m playing with great linemates (Henrik and Daniel Sedin) like I am right now. They’re making it easy for me.”
It looked like it was going to be another bad day for Burrows, who had a difficult two weeks after he criticized referee Stephane Auger of unfairly targeting him and earned a US$2,500 fine from the NHL.
Burrows played a part in two of the Stars’ goals. He deflected Dallas’ first goal behind Roberto Luongo and was on the receiving end of a boarding penalty that led to a Stars’ short-handed marker that gave them a lead.
“It was a challenge again,” said Burrows of trying to stay on an even keel. “The first goal was my man. The D-man beat me off the wall and I was kind of pissed off at myself a little bit for giving them that first goal. But I just said ‘Don’t let it bother me and stay positive and keep going.”‘
The Canucks (30-18-2) posted their third-straight win and moved into a tie for the Northwest Division lead with Colorado.
Mason Raymond and Kyle Wellwood also scored for Vancouver, while Loui Eriksson, Toby Petersen and Trevor Daley replied for the Stars (21-18-11), who suffered their 10th consecutive road loss.
“The game got on the line and their level elevated and they played about 15 minutes and won the hockey game,” said Dallas coach Marc Crawford.
Burrows’ luck began to change with 1:55 left in the second when a video review showed he kicked the puck into the net. Burrows, who drew the Hockey Night in Canada host Ron McLean and the league’s scorn for accusing Auger of deliberately calling penalties against him, did not protest.
“I wanted to kick it to my stick at first,” said Burrows. “That’s what I was trying to do, and I kind of got knocked up a little bit . . . I didn’t even know if the ref had pointed it as a goal or he had waved it off right away . . . I knew for sure they were going to overturn it.”
Burrows, however, made good on another chance just 55 seconds later as Auld, an ex-Canuck making first start against his former team, came out of his net and misplayed a dump-in.
“Obviously you don’t really think goalies are going to turn the puck over there but I was lucky enough to get a stick on it and I kind of caught him off guard and into an empty net,” said Burrows. “It’s a big goal for us, but it was a total team effort tonight.”
Luongo was not about to feel sorry for the goalie that was part of the blockbuster deal that brought him to the Canucks from Florida.
“I had just given one up so it’s even,” said Luongo, who went down too soon and waved at Petersen’s goal with his glove while the Stars were short-handed. “It was nice of (Auld). It was all square after that and obviously we had a really good third period.”
Erhoff ended a highlight-reel, four-way passing play to give the Canucks a 3-2 lead 5:05 into the final frame. Skating into the Dallas zone, Burrows backhanded a pass along the blue-line to Henrik Sedin, who passed across the ice to his brother Daniel, who then fed Ehrhoff as he sped through the middle and beat Auld.
Wellwood’s apparent insurance marker at 16:31 turned out to be the winner as Daley closed out the scoring with three seconds left to make the score 4-3.
“It was nice to get a goal,” said Wellwood, who had gone nine games without one. “Definitely, I need to start scoring. I find myself trying to keep a position on the team, so it was nice to get one.”
Ironically, Wellwood – not Burrows – ended up complaining about the officiating afterwards. The rarely-penalized forward is on a two-game penalty streak and now his eight penalty minutes this season after receiving only four minutes in 2008-09 and none in the previous two campaigns.
“Neither of them were my fault, I felt,” said Wellwood of his back-to-back infractions. “But there was nothing I could do. They call the penalties. Sometimes it’s hard for them to see what’s going on. Usually, they let me go, but for some reason they’re picking on me.”
For the second game in two nights, the Canucks, who won in Edmonton in overtime Wednesday, managed to rally in the third – despite playing with only five defencemen for the final 20 minutes. Vancouver lost veteran Sami Salo to an undisclosed lower-body injury after the second.
Notes: Vancouver centre Ryan Johnson returned to action after missing 12 games with a foot fracture. …canucks defenceman Willie Mitchell missed his second straight game with an undisclosed upper-body injury suffered Saturday against Pittsburgh. …Wellwood is on a two-game penalty streak. He now his eight penalty minutes this season after receiving only four minutes in 2008-09 and none in the previous two campaigns. …Stars captain Brenden Morrow also missed his second consecutive contest because of a lower-body injury, but he is expected to be healthy in time to play for Canada at the upcoming Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. …Morrow is one of four Stars slated to play for a quartet of countries in the Games. The others are Eriksson (Sweden), Skrastins (Latvia) and Lehtinen (Finland), whom the Stars have placed on injured reserve due to a lower-body injury.