Two games. Two hat tricks. Four wins in a row. Life is good for Alex Burrows and the Vancouver Canucks these days.
Burrows had his second consecutive three-goal game and Roberto Luongo stopped 31 shots for his 50th NHL shutout as the Canucks beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-0 on Thursday night.
Burrows, who also had three goals in Tuesday's 7-3 win over Columbus, opened the scoring midway through the first period and got the other two early in the third.
"Right now, I'm just getting shots through and they're finding ways to beat goalies," Burrows said. "Obviously it's fun right now. Before those two games, I went 10 games without one. I just have to stay the course. Right now I'm working hard and it's paying off."
No Canucks player has scored three goals in consecutive games since Petri Skriko did it during the 1986-87 season.
"Obviously that line is playing with a lot of confidence," coach Alain Vigneault said. "They're making some great plays that only they can see and pick up. Other teams are obviously having some big issues trying to shut those guys down. They're playing real well right now, and we need them."
"It's pretty to watch out there," Luongo said. "Hopefully they'll keep it going."
Mikael Samuelsson had the backbreaking goal, capitalizing on Ryan Kesler's takeaway behind the Phoenix net and banging home a shot with 4 seconds left in the second period to give the Canucks a 2-0 lead after Phoenix had taken 16 of the period's first 20 shots.
The Canucks, now 18-6-0 at home, have won 11 of 14 and improved to 27-16-1. Vancouver has 55 points, matching first-place Calgary in the Northwest Division -- the Flames are on top because they've played one less game.
The Coyotes have lost three of their last four, though they'll go home with a split on a two-game trip to Western Canada thanks to a 5-4 overtime win at Edmonton on Tuesday. Phoenix begins a six-game homestand against the New York Islanders on Saturday; the Coyotes have won 10 of their last 11 at Jobing.com Arena.
Vancouver got on the board first after some sustained pressure in the Phoenix zone. Ilya Bryzgalov stopped Sami Salo's blast from the left point but couldn't control the rebound. Sedin grabbed the puck below the goal line and fed Burrows, whose high shot from just to the left of the crease caught the top far corner at 11:35 of the opening period.
The assist was Sedin's 59th point of the season, moving him past San Jose's Joe Thornton for the scoring lead, and extended his points streak to eight games.
Only some stellar play by Bryzgalov kept the Canucks from adding to their lead, as Vancouver took 11 of the first 15 shots on goal and dominated play until the final few minutes of the period. Daniel Winnik had a great chance with 90 seconds left, but fired wide from the slot after a big hit by ex-Canuck Taylor Pyatt on defenseman Aaron Rome freed the puck.
Rome suffered a cut on the left side of his face on the play and was helped off the ice. The Canucks lost another defenseman late in the second when Salo was accidentally cut by teammate Willie Mitchell's stick in nearly the same spot as Rome while killing a penalty. Rome did not return; Salo was back for the third period.
"I thought it was a clean hit. Aaron didn't see Taylor coming," Vigneault said of the hit on Rome. "Taylor just did what a forward is supposed to do -- finish his check. It's unfortunate that he hit his head on the ice. I understand that he got a few stitches. He's fine."
The second period was all Phoenix -- until the final seconds. After being outshot 11-6 in the opening 20 minutes, the Coyotes had 16 of the first 17 shots in the middle period, only to be denied time and again by Luongo.
Bryzgalov came up big when he stopped Mason Raymond's penalty shot with 2:05 into the second, but Kesler's takeaway and pass to Samuelsson for a quick shot from a bad angle to the left of Bryzgalov put the Canucks ahead by two at intermission and appeared to take a lot of life out of the Coyotes.
"In the guts of the game, we made critical mistakes that ended up in the back of our net --critical errors by key people on our team," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "The one with four seconds left was frustrating because we did play a decent second period. To give away that goal -- that's frustrating."
Vancouver came out storming in the third, and Burrows made it 3-0 by snapping home a pass from Daniel Sedin after a takeaway by Henrik. He then triggered a cascade of hats by scoring on assists from both Sedins at 4:56 for his third career hat trick -- leaving Tippett displeased with what he saw from his team.
"When you give a line like the Sedin line chances like that, they're going to capitalize," Tippett said. "It's just sloppy play on our part. It's inexcusable."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report
|Alexandre Burrows (15) ASST: Henrik Sedin (39), Sami Salo (7)|
1 - 0 VAN
|Mikael Samuelsson (14) ASST: Ryan Kesler (28), Shane O'Brien (4)|
2 - 0 VAN
|Alexandre Burrows (16) ASST: Henrik Sedin (40), Daniel Sedin (23)|
3 - 0 VAN
|Alexandre Burrows (17) ASST: Henrik Sedin (41), Daniel Sedin (24)|
4 - 0 VAN
|Henrik Sedin Hooking against Robert Lang|
|Robert Lang Tripping against Mason Raymond|
|Kyle Wellwood Too many men/ice - bench|
|Shane O'Brien Cross checking against Daniel Winnik|
|Darcy Hordichuk Fighting (maj) against Paul Bissonnette|
|Paul Bissonnette Fighting (maj) against Darcy Hordichuk|
|Vernon Fiddler Fighting (maj) against Tanner Glass|
|Tanner Glass Fighting (maj) against Vernon Fiddler|
|Mason Raymond Cross checking against Ed Jovanovski|
|Alexandre Bolduc Hooking against Anders Eriksson|