PIC OF THE GAME
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - Alex Burrows is known as an agitating checking-line winger for the Vancouver Canucks. Lately, he's also leading the team with his scoring touch.
Burrows scored the tying goal on a breakaway late in the second period, then made a pretty backhand pass to set up Brad Isbister for the winning goal with 4:12 left, rallying Vancouver to a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.
It was the second straight two-point game for Burrows, who sparked a 6-2 rout of Nashville on Thursday night with a short-handed goal just 37 seconds into the game.
"Pretty confident out there," said Burrows, whose 11 goals this season are one more than he managed his first two seasons combined. "Even (coach) Alain (Vigneault) yelled my name on the power play there. I wasn't sure what was going on. But it's all right, I like my role on the checking line and if we can keep winning game, I'll be happy."
Burrows, who sent a backhand over Manny Legace on the breakaway, worked a give-and-go with Ryan Kesler
out of the corner to get alone in the slot, drawing both Blues defenders before slipping a backhand pass to give Isbister an open net and an easy winning goal.
"That (defenseman) had to go to me or Izzy and Izzy was backdoor wide open so I was able to get it to him and it was a big goal," Burrows said.
It was pretty impressive stuff from an undrafted forward who spent two seasons in the tier-3 ECHL before signing his first NHL contract with the Canucks in 2005. After scoring three goals last season, Burrows was told coming into training camp that his spot on the team wasn't guaranteed. He's responded with 27 points, six more than in his first two seasons put together.
"I told him that if he didn't pick it up offensively, there was a good chance that he wasn't going to stick with the Canucks," Vigneault said. "So he knew what was at stake."
Scored on a breakaway to tie it 2-2, then set up Isbister for the game-winner late in the third..
Has both goals for St. Louis to up his season total to 34.
| Ryan Kesler
Two assists in the third and had a spirited scrap with Barret Jackman.
Mattias Ohlund, a surprise starter just three days after an MRI revealed bone chips in his left knee, also scored for Vancouver, which has followed up a four-game skid with two straight wins to move back into a tie with Nashville for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Canucks took two straight penalties in the final 3 minutes, but Roberto Luongo
made a handful of tough stops, stuffing Andy MacDonald at the side of the net just before Henrik Sedin
scored into an empty net with 5 seconds left.
"We know what's at stake and we got a big two points tonight," said Luongo, who finished with 23 saves to record his 30th win for a second-straight season with the Canucks, and just the third time in his career. "Everybody is stepping up in this dressing room."
Brad Boyes ended an eight-game goal drought with his 33rd and 34th of the season, but the 14th-place Blues fell to 1-7-1 in the last nine games.
"Not making the playoffs last year was the first time I've ever not made the playoffs in my career and it was a tough pill to swallow," Manny Legace said after making 25 saves in his 26th straight start and 299th of his career. "But watching it slip away is tougher than last year. This year we got off to a good start and just haven't done anything since January. It's just frustrating."
St. Louis started a franchise record nine-game road trip 0-2.
"It's like a snowball and the luck isn't going," said Legace, who had Ohlund's goal bounce in off a defenseman's leg on a shot that was headed wide, and stayed with Burrows perfectly on the breakaway to no avail. "It was a nice move but I thought I had him. Once he made his move, first thought was I had him, but obviously I didn't. He got it up and that's the big thing."
: Ohlund said Thursday he would rest four to six days before deciding if he should have arthroscopic surgery that would have ended his regular season, but felt good enough to play after skating Saturday morning. ... Canucks captain Markus Naslund ended a seven game-points drought with an assist on Ohlund's goal. ...Vancouver D Aaron Miller will miss seven to 10 days with a bruised right shoulder. ... St. Louis RW Cam Janssen played just his second game since being acquired from New Jersey for D Bryce Salvador. He was a healthy scratch the last three. ... Legace said recently he wants to play all of the Blues remaining 14 regular-season games.