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Canucks battle back to beat the Wild – Metro US

Canucks battle back to beat the Wild

Alex Burrows can relax and the Vancouver Canucks can breathe a sigh of relief as well after his performance Tuesday night.

Burrows celebrated a new contract by starting a comeback and capping it with his second goal and career-high 18th of the season in a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. But there were some nervous moments for Burrows after reports he could be trade deadline bait if his US$8-million, four-year deal didn’t get done by Wednesday.

“But I had a lot of good teammates here supporting me and my parents were supporting me too,” said Burrows who brought the GM Place crowd to its feet with the break-in for his second goal.

“Even though I really felt I wasn’t going to get traded, you never know what can happen but I’m really glad to stay here in Vancouver.”

Burrows, who is making $525,000 this season, almost got a third goal on an empty net but Brent Burns checked him at centre ice.

It’s been an uphill climb for the 27-year-old Burrows, from suburban Montreal, who began his career with Vancouver as a pesky checker but now plays on the top line with twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin.

He was undrafted out of junior and played for ECHL outposts in Greenville, Baton Rouge and Columbia before finally sticking with the Canucks’ American League affiliate in Winnipeg.

He began Vancouver’s comeback from a 2-0 deficit by tipping Willie Mitchell’s point shot behind Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom who just signed a four-year contract extension of his own.

Burrows was also a big part of a momentum-changing second-period shift with the twins that pinned the Wild in their zone for two minutes 20 seconds.

Pavol Demitra ended the sequence by firing over the glass but tied the game late in the period on a break-in orchestrated by Mats Sudin.

Steve Bernier put Vancouver ahead 28 seconds later by taking the puck between two defenders and whipping it behind Backstrom who couldn’t get set for the shot.

“It was a good shift, it got the momentum going … but the last 40 minutes, we played really solid,” Burrows said of the extended play in the Wild zone.

Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said his club, outshot 16-4 in the second period, is slipping out of the playoff race and the extended shift didn’t help.

“It’s like we were standing and not reacting to anything that was in front of us,” he said.

The win was a season-high sixth straight at home for the Canucks, 33-22-8, who have won 11 of their last 13 games since Burrows ended an eight-game losing skid with a short-handed goal against Carolina.

Fifth-place Vancouver needed the victory to remain four points ahead of Columbus, sixth in the tight Western Conference.

The Wild lost their fourth straight game, slipped to 30-27-5 and remained out of a playoff position.

“We just stopped playing,” said Wild winger Owen Nolan. “We worked hard to get those two goals and for some reason we just didn’t play in the second period. We couldn’t stop their momentum.”

Minnesota was staked to a two-goal lead on their first four shots.

Goalie Roberto Luongo’s clearing attempt was intercepted and Dan Fritsche tipped Colton Gillies’ centring pass into the net.

Marek Zidlicky blasted a power-play point shot that dipped through Luongo’s legs.

But Burrows and his teammates cranked up the pressure in the second period.

“He’s been contributing in many ways,” Luongo said. “He’s got some big goals for us. It’s just nice to see him get rewarded.” Bernier, who scored his second game-winner in three starts, said Burrows’ work ethic is the key to his game.

“Most of all, he’s working so hard,” Bernier said. “Right now, he’s a huge part of the Vancouver Canucks. It’s fun to see him play.” Fritsche said Burrows has blossomed since joining the Sedins.

“He’s fitting in well there. Obviously his whole line is a huge threat and we’re definitely aware of their presence on the ice every time they’re out there.” Burrows said playing in the NHL has been a dream since boyhood. Now he wants a Stanley Cup.

“It’s huge,” he said of the contract. “It’s always (been) my dream. I worked for it. It’s not always easy. I think you’ve got to come a long way … take baby step after baby step”.

“Now it’s going to be the same way to my next goal to win a championship”

NOTES: The Canucks play 14 games in March against teams competing with them for a Western Conference playoff berth … Vancouver plays its final regular-season game against Minnesota on the road March 31 … Nolan returned to the Wild lineup after missing three games with the fracture of the big toe on his left foot … Minnesota enforcer Derek Boogard sat out the second of a five-game suspension for an elbow to the head of Calgary Flame Brandon Prust.

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