Alex Burrows took a lesson from the Detroit Red Wings’ offensive playbook.
Burrows scored the winning goal in the first period of the Vancouver Canucks’ 4-2 victory Wednesday night when he went to Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard’s crease for an artful back-to-the-net tip-in.
”I’m trying to get a piece of it and try to surprise the goalie a bit,” Burrows said of his deflection of a hard pass from Daniel Sedin.
”They’re one of the best teams at going to the net and we like to take pages out of their book and tonight it worked out in our favor.”
The score gave the Canucks a 3-1 lead and Burrows, who got his fourth goal in four games, didn’t think it would stand up as the game-winner.
”It’s too early,” said Burrows who tied Sedin for the team lead with his 13th goal of the season. ”When you give them room, they’re going to make some plays.
”We sat back too much in the third and they kept coming in waves and (goalie) Roberto (Luongo) made some big saves.”
Luongo had to be sharp in the third period when the Canucks were outshot 16-4 while nursing their lead. He finished with 38 saves, including late stops on Darren Helm and Pavel Datsyuk.
Burrows and Sedin twins Daniel and Henrik have combined for 10 points in the last two games.
”They’re such unbelievable players,” Burrows said. ”They’re going to make plays all over the ice.
”For me on that play, I think he (Howard) thought they were going to make a give-and-go or something and bought me time to get to the net.”
Daniel Sedin credited the goal to Burrows’ ability to get into a good scoring position.
”Typical Burrows goal,” he said. ”He’s so good at hand-eye co-ordination, it’s unbelievable. He goes to open spots behind their (defensemen) and we try to find him.”
Chris Higgins and Cody Hodgson scored 21 seconds apart earlier in the period to give Vancouver a 2-0 advantage, prompting Detroit coach Mike Babcock to call a time out.
Alex Edler also scored for Vancouver.
Todd Bertuzzi and Drew Miller scored for the Red Wings, who lost for just the second time in seven games (5-2-0).
”Today we made too many mistakes through the neutral zone, and on our forecheck,” Babcock said. ”Behind 3-1, I thought we crawled back in the game, had a good push.”
Vancouver won its third straight and improved to 12-2-1 in their last 15 games, pulling a point behind Northwest Division-leading Minnesota.
Bertuzzi pulled the Red Wings to 2-1 when a prone Luongo appeared to lose the puck in a scramble in his crease and the former Canucks star jammed it home with 6:14 to go in the first period.
Burrows restored the two-goal lead less than 2 minutes later.
However, the Red Wings pulled within a goal again as Miller tipped a shot by a falling Darren Helm over Luongo with 3:40 to go in the second. It was Miller’s fifth goal in six games.
Niklas Kronwall almost tied it near the end of the second period when he sent a rebound from the deep slot into Luongo’s pads.
Edler provided some insurance with a short-handed score at 3:30 of the third period, converting Hansen’s rebound past Howard.
Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler was in the penalty box for roughing after challenging Kronwall who left his feet to deliver a hard hit on the Canucks’ center along the boards.
The check brought some feeling into a game that didn’t see a penalty called until 1:24 to go in the second period.
Kronwall said the hit was just part of the game.
”The puck was right there and I just tried to put a clean check in,” Kronwall said. ”The way I looked at it is he had the puck and he had it under control. I thought the puck was right there.”
All four penalties in the game were called against Vancouver and Zetterberg believes the Wings should have made more of their man-advantage chances.
”You have to take care of your power play, you have to have at least one (man-advantage goal) to win games,” he said. ”It’s so tight 5-on-5.”
NOTES: The two clubs have appeared three of the last four Stanley Cup finals … Andrew Ebbett returned to the Vancouver lineup for the first time since breaking a bone in his foot on Nov. 10 … The Canucks were again without D Aaron Rome (thumb) and D Keith Ballard (back). D Andrew Alberts and D Alexander Sulzer continued to fill in for Vancouver.