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Worth every penny

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
Inked to a presidential term before the start of Vancouver’s game versus Minnesota, Alex Burrows immediately rewarded the Canucks with a pair of goals in a 4-2 thumping of the Wild.

The kid’s been hot this season, whoa so hot this season, but without a contract past this year, the burning question was where Burrows would he would be tomorrow.

He gleefully signed on the dotted line hours prior to puck drop against Minnesota to ensure the answer would be Vancouver.

“Like I said all along, that’s what I wanted, to stay in Vancouver and win a championship here and I still feel the same way,” said Burrows. “I’m really glad that management showed some faith in me to sign me to an extension.”

The four-year contract extension, which keeps Burrows in Canucks colours through the 2012-13 NHL season, was what the 27-year-old has been pushing for all season and having already set career highs in goals and points, he was doing a mighty job of proving his worth.

Finally drenched in dollars, Burrows didn’t miss a beat on this night when it came time to provide Vancouver with his patented fiery play.

Down 2-0 just 7:26 into the first period, the Canucks were shaking their heads wondering how they’d gotten into such a rut when Burrows flexed some muscle. He battled for position in front of the Wild net and when Willie Mitchell sent a shot on goal, Burrows caught a piece of the puck to tip it past Niklas Backstrom.

That was all the offence the Canucks could generate in the opening 20 minutes and Burrows didn’t score again until midway though the third period, but it wasn’t due to a lack of effort.

In what will go down as The Shift – Part Deux, Vancouver’s top line took it to Minnesota in their end late in the second period for a whopping two minutes and 22 seconds.

It was unstoppable anarchy as Burrows, the Sedins, Mitchell and Sami Salo simply refused to leave the zone without a goal. The Sedins had as many chances to score as the Wild had to clear the puck, but everyone came together for an improbable menacing shift that tetherballed all possible momentum to the Canucks.

No goals came of Vancouver’s dizzying play, yet the hard work paid off with two minutes remaining in the period when Pavol Demitra sniped a goal top shelf to tie the game up.

Steve Bernier gave the Canucks the lead for good with a goal from the slot just 28 seconds later.

“That was pretty impressive puck control and a lot of pucks got to the net, which isn’t easy to do against that team because they do such a great job of blocking shots and collapsing five guys in front of the net,” said Alain Vigneault of The Shift.

“A little bit before that I thought we were slowly but surely starting to take over in the game and that shift there obviously energized the building quite a bit and it energized the fans and it obviously energized our players on the bench and we just kept going from there.”

Fans saluted the astounding shift with a hearty standing ovation, partially because it demonstrated just how far the Canucks have come since January, but also in light of the fact that not many people thought the Sedins could trump the first installment of The Shift.

Volume one went down on Oct. 13, 2007 with the Edmonton Oilers in town. That night the Sedins, Ryan Kesler, Lucas Krajicek and Mattias Ohlund maintained control of the puck in the Oilers end for two minutes and 15 seconds with Daniel Sedin scoring to cap it off.

“There was a big difference between that shift and last year, last year we were on the power play, this year we were five-on-five,” Vigneault pointed out.

Either way it was as impressive as lengthy shifts get and Vancouver’s top line wasn’t done there.

Burrows scored his second goal of the game and 18th of the season with 7:53 left on the clock in the final frame to suffocate Minnesota’s bid at a comeback.

With Burrows in the spotlight all night long, it only made sense that he notch the game’s prettiest goal, a score that both Sedins were in on.

Daniel chipped the puck to Henrik near centre, Hank then carried the puck over the Wild blueline with a man watching him and Burrows streaking down the middle trying to lose his defender.

Henrik then threaded a pass to Burrows and he want to his backhand to beat Backstrom and shake down GM Place again.

“What a great play by the twins, it started deep in our end and Danny made a great play to Hanky,” said Burrows.

“He delayed, he’s so patient, I don’t know how he saw me coming from behind him, but he did and it was a perfect saucer right on my tape and I was in full stride so he put it right there and I just put it in.”

Burrows and the Canucks will breathe easy and take in this win, but tomorrow is a new day, one that could bring change to the team.

Vancouver isn’t expected to make much noise at the trade deadline and for good reason, the Canucks are firing on every cylinders and them some right now.

“We’ve got a good group of guys in here and right now we’re feeling pretty good about our game,” said Kesler.

You can follow any and all of Vancouver’s moves at the trade deadline on Trade Deadline blog.

2 – Goals for Alex Burrows, he has 18 this season

11 Wins for Vancouver in its last 13 games

  +21 – Willie Mitchell's plus/minus rating this season, he was plus-3 on the night

29 Wins for the Canucks when they hold their opponents to three goals or less (29-9-4)

169 All-time wins for the Canucks when Daniel and Henrik both record at least one point in the same game. (169-57-24)

The offence certainly started slow, but when it came to life, it really came to life.

Two goals in 28 seconds was the difference in this game with the Canucks pouring it on after The Shift - Part Deux.

Vancouver outshot Minnesota 32-19.

Roberto Luongo and the defence made up for two sloppy plays early with some sound play in the second and third periods.

The defence was especially effective at clearing the zone on this night, and while Luongo wasn't overly tested, he stood his ground in the late stages and finished with 17 stops.

Minnesota doubled its lead to 2-0 with a power play goal in the first but after that Vancouver didn't take a penalty.

The Wild finished 1-for-2 while up a man; the Canucks went 0-for-2 with five shots on goal. That wasn't enough to bully the top ranked penalty kill in the league.
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