One more win at The Garage and they’ll rewrite history.
Vancouver upended Colorado 4-2 on Sunday night and in the process equaled a club record with its ninth consecutive win on home ice, a feat previous achieved from Nov. 6 to Dec. 9, 1992.
Not to take anything away from that achievement, but the efforts of Alex Burrows and Mattias Ohlund overshadowed the significance of the win on this night.
From pesky grinder to hardnosed sniper, Burrows lit the lamp for the fourth straight game and has now made a monumental difference in turning the tides Vancouver’s way in seven of its last nine wins.
When the Burrows highlight reel is assembled at the end of the season, his 22nd goal of the season, which gave the Canucks a comfortable 2-0 lead 7:25 into the first period, will indeed be on it.
After Kyle Wellwood put Vancouver in front with his second goal in three games, the Canucks were assessed back-to-back penalties opening the door for some Colorado goals.
For the fourth time this season Burrows had something else in mind and when John-Michael Liles botched a pass at the Canucks blueline on the Avs second power play, it was off to the races.
Burrows juked and jived his way in on a breakaway before snapping a shot past Andrew Raycroft, just not the post.
“I kind of swore a few times I think after I hit the post,” laughed Burrows, who stayed on the attack after drawing iron. Ryan Kesler
followed up and worked the puck back into the Colorado zone a few seconds later, he then lasered a shot on net that Raycroft stopped.
The netminder then had Burrows all up in his grill as the forward rifled a shot. Raycroft robbed him on that attempt as well, luckily persistence is Burrows' middle name and when the puck bounced his way again, he snapped it into the empty cage.
Third time’s always a charm.
“Kes made a good play, he stuck with the puck and really got that puck top circle and got a shot off,” said Burrows.
“I was able to jump on the first rebound, I kind of lost an edge a little bit but I was able to regain my balance and bury the second chance. It was a big goal, especially shorthanded to make it 2-0 for us early in the game.”
The 250th straight sellout at GM Place responded with a near standing ovation for that grit and determination and although the Canucks let this game slip a bit in being up 3-0 and narrowly winning 4-2, the fans did the same at the end of the game.
The victory, Vancouver’s first over Colorado in nine attempts, garnered a fair share of applause, as did Burrows being named the game’s first star, but the fans wanted more of one player and one player only after the final horn went and that was Mattias Ohlund.
On Vancouver’s fourth goal, a power play maker from an Alex Edler snap shot, Ohlund drew the third assist for working the puck around the boards to Kesler, who then attracted a defender giving Edler ample real estate to score.
The assist, his 22nd point of the season, moved Ohlund into top spot for most points by a defencemen in team history.
The veteran blueliner’s 322nd career point wasn’t as flashy as they come and Ohlund was just fine with that.
“It was a very fitting assist I guess,” joked Ohlund, who didn’t save the historic puck and admitted that he didn’t know what to think of passing Jyrki Lumme and Dennis Kearns for most points.
“I haven’t thought about it too much, I guess when you’re looking back it means you’ve played a lot of games, I’ve got a few points, I’ve never been a high-point guy, but I guess it means you’ve done a decent job.”
Decent should be replaced with incredible, unbelievable or astonishing in that last sentence, but that’s not how Ohlund rolls. He’s a quiet contributor who has always let his game do the talking and even when he's questioned about his fine play, he’d rather chat about how well the team is performing on home ice.
“It’s easy to play right now, but we have to remember that five or six weeks ago when we lost all those games we were not as bad as you might think and it’s the same now,” said Ohlund.
“We’re winning all these games but we might not be as good as we think so we have to continue to work hard, but we have a skilled team, we’ve got the best team I think we’ve had in years so it’s going to be interesting in the next few weeks and the few months coming up here.”
Of Vancouver’s remaining 14 games, three are against Colorado, so hopefully this effort is indicative of how the Canucks will play those remaining games.
First things first, the Canucks face the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night in search of their record-breaking tenth home win.