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Burns giving it his best shot for Sharks

Defenseman adds to stellar postseason in Game 2 win against Blues

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / Director of Editorial

ST. LOUIS -- If the puck finds its way to the stick of San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns in the offensive zone, more often than not a shot will follow.

"I shoot," he said. "Can't pass."

Actually, Burns can pass. He does it quite well.

But his first option with the puck on his blade is to tee it up and shoot it as hard as he can and enjoy the mayhem that follows. Maybe it goes directly into the net. Maybe it is tipped in by center Joe Pavelski, one of the best deflection men in the NHL. Maybe it misses.

In the end, it doesn't matter. Burns is going to demand the puck -- "I always call for the puck, even when I'm not open" -- and is going to shoot it when he gets it.

The law of averages will sort out the rest, he believes.

"Best I've ever seen," San Jose coach Pete DeBoer said when asked about Burns' point shot. "I think [it's] just how he can get it off from every angle, how he can get it to the net off balance, in bad spots. He finds a way to get it there. If it's in the right spot, it's going in. That's a great weapon for us."

Video: SJS@STL, Gm2: Burns finishes Pavelski's feed for PPG

Burns' shots were in the right spot Tuesday in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final against the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center. He scored two power-play goals in a 4-0 win that evened even the best-of-7 series 1-1.

It was the second two-goal game this postseason for Burns, who also did it against the Nashville Predators in Game 4 of the second round.

He is one of 11 defensemen in NHL history to have two multigoal games in the same postseason, the first since Rob Blake of the Colorado Avalanche 14 years ago.

Denis Potvin of the 1981 New York Islanders is the only defenseman to have three multigoal games in one playoff year.

Burns has six goals this postseason, with 48 shots on goal in 14 games. He had 22 shot attempts in the first two games of this series.

"Brent doesn't lack in confidence," teammate Tommy Wingels said.

Why should he?

He is an extremely gifted player, a finalist for the Norris Trophy who was a forward for the Sharks in the not so distant past. He had 27 goals, on 353 shots, this regular season.

Video: SJS@STL, Gm2: Burns blasts one-timer PPG past Elliott

At the morning skate Tuesday, DeBoer put Burns in elite company, arguing that his ability to play forward with the same degree of proficiency puts him among the game's singular talents and in the same stratosphere as Bo Jackson, the two-sport star who played professional football and baseball.

"The only reason there ever has been a question is because he's one of those rare guys that could be an All-Star as a winger," DeBoer said of Burns. "You can count the number of guys probably in history that could do that on one hand. Otherwise this wouldn't even be a question, is he a defenseman or a forward?

"He's just that exceptional an athlete that he happens to fall into that category; Bo Jackson, is he a football player or baseball player? [Burns] is that exceptional a guy."

He's proving it again this postseason by sticking with the grip-it-and-rip-it philosophy that has worked so well.

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