VANCOUVER, B.C. – Alex Burrows says he hasn’t scored like this since the street hockey games with his buddies in suburban Montreal.
“It’s really cool,” Burrows said Friday after his second hat trick in as many games sparked Thursday’s 4-0 dismantling of the Phoenix Coyotes. “Obviously my linemates are playing unbelievable for me. It’s been fun but what’s been really fun is getting some wins and being on a roll right now.”
Those linemates are Daniel and Henrik Sedin who, with Burrows, have become the NHL’s top-scoring trio since Dec. 1 as the Canucks have lost only twice in their past 14 games.
Henrik has vaulted to the top of the scoring race with 61 points and Vancouver plays the Calgary Flames for first place in the Northwest Division on Saturday night.
“Danny and Hank have been great together, making a lot of plays and creating a lot offensively,” Burrows said after practice. “I’m on the bandwagon and trying to help them out.”
Helping out means 17 goals this season, seven in the last three games, and plenty of points for the identical twins.
In addition to being tied for second in goals on the club despite few power-play minutes, Burrows is also responsible defensively with a plus-minus rating of 19, second among teammates.
He flits like a mosquito on a mission to open space in front of the net. If the puck isn’t there, he’ll join the twins’ telepathic puck-cycling choreography in the opposition zone.
Then he’ll make another move to a hole near the net and chances are the puck will arrive this time.
Burrows scores most of his goals within four or five feet of the crease. If his short game in golf was as good as it is in hockey, he’d be a PGA tour candidate.
On Thursday night he calmly took two passes – one at the right side of the net, the other at the left – and lifted them over Phoenix netminder Ilya Bryzgalov from sharp angles.
The third was scored from one knee as were two more on Tuesday night where he took Daniel Sedin passes and whacked them into the goal during a 7-3 romp over Columbus.
He used his speed to complete that hat trick on a short-handed break, knocking in Ryan Kesler’s back-door pass.
On Saturday he could make NHL history with a third consecutive three-goal effort.
“I’m pushing for him,” said Kesler who used to team with Burrows on the Canucks’ checking line.
“He’s in the right place at the right time right now and he’s burying his chances. It would be special if he could do that.”
Burrows, who played with hip flexor and groin injuries earlier in the season, got hot when Daniel Sedin rejoined the line after missing 18 games with a broken foot.
The twins say Burrows thinks the game like they do and has an underrated shot.
“Right now the puck seems to find the back of the net every time he shoots,” said Daniel. “That’s what happens when you’re hot.”
Added Henrik: “We enjoy playing with each other and we read off each other really well and that makes it tough to defend us.”
In some ways Burrows, 28, is the anti-twin. He’ll go to a knee after scoring and windmill his arm in celebration. Or shoot an imaginary arrow. Or mime breaking a stick over his knee when a goal ends a Canucks losing streak.
The Sedins manage one or two tentative fist pumps.
The twins are soft-spoken but the undrafted Burrows, who began his pro career with the likes of the Greenville Grrrowl, Baton Rouge Kingfish and Columbia Inferno in the ECHL, is an in-your-face pest who chirps with the best of them.
Winning and scoring has been a confidence boost for the Canucks who finally got into a playoff position during a late December homestand after battling injuries.
“You go out there and it seems like nothing can go wrong really,” said the lanky six-foot-one, 210-pound Burrows who signed a four-year, US$8 million contract extension last season.
“You’re really playing loose and able to make plays instead of (gripping your stick) tight and making sure you can’t make any mistakes.”
Henrik Sedin hasn’t been making many as he leads Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks by three points.
“I’m happy I’m up there, for sure,” Henrik said after extending his points streak to eight games on Thursday. “I didn’t ever think I was going to be close to the lead but it’s nothing I walk around thinking about too much.
“I can tell Daniel I’ve been on top. He might never be there. He’s not too happy about that.”