Kevin Woodley – NHL.com Correspondent
VANCOUVER, BC – January 1: Alex Burrows #14 Alex Edler #23 Linden Vey #7 congratulate Chris Tanev #8 of the Vancouver Canucks on his game tying goal as Ryan Getzlaf #15 of the Anaheim Ducks skates to the bench during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on January 1, 2016 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Canucks won 2-1 in a shootout.
VANCOUVER — Alexandre Burrows ended a long personal slump to help the Vancouver Canucks to a big win against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday.
VANCOUVER, BC – January 1: Alex Burrows #14 of the Vancouver Canucks is checked by Sami Vatanen #45 of the Anaheim Ducks during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on January 1, 2016 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Canucks won 2-1 in a shootout. (Photo by Derek Cain / ISN)
Burrows set up and set the screen for defenseman Christopher Tanev to tie the game midway through the third period, then scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Canucks a 2-1 victory at Rogers Arena.
The assist on Tanev’s goal 10:24 into the third period was Burrows’ first point in 17 games. His shootout goal may not count in his personal statistics for the season, but it provided a big lift for the Canucks against the Pacific Division-rival Ducks.
“It’s been a while, so it’s always nice to contribute a little,” said Burrows, who was on the fourth line after failing to record a point since his last goal on Nov. 21. “It’s just nice to contribute and help the team win. We’re in a battle for the playoffs, we have to find ways to be better.”
VANCOUVER, BC – January 1: Henrik Sedin #33 of the Vancouver Canucks is checked by a diving Corey Perry #10 as Frederik Anderson #31 of the Anaheim Ducks tracks the puck during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on January 1, 2016 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Canucks won 2-1 in a shootout. (Photo by Derek Cain / ISN)
With teammate Radim Vrbata telling him to shoot high glove and Jannik Hansen calling for his signature backhand deke, Burrows admitted he had no idea what to do in the shootout. He came out wide on the left wing, then cut into the middle and started back the other way before beating Frederik Andersen low on the blocker side.
“So I didn’t know what to do but I came in and saw a spot,” said Burrows, who is 2-for-4 in the shootout this season and has five career game-deciding goals. “I think he was trying to take the five-hole away with his right knee so that gives a little opening blocker side.”
Tanev’s goal ended the Ducks’ bid for a third straight 1-0 win. Back after missing with two games with a bruised foot, Tanev threw the puck at the net from the right point and it went through traffic in front before beating Andersen high on the glove side.
Burrows was cutting through the crease as Tanev’s shot floated past him and went in off the post behind Andersen. Burrows insisted the puck never touched him, but he started the play by winning a puck battle in the corner on a forecheck.
“He beat two guys and then got the puck up to me,” Tanev said. “I was just trying to get it by the first guy and then he went to the net and ended up screening the goalie too.”
Andersen made 24 saves in his first start since Dec. 22. He played even though John Gibson was coming off his second straight 1-0 win, Thursday against the Edmonton Oilers. Gibson has also shut out the Canucks in each of his two appearances against them, including 4-0 on Nov. 30. However, with three games in four nights on this road trip, Andersen got the start; it was his fourth appearance since getting sick in late November and missing two-plus weeks. It looked like Andersen might make it three straight 1-0 wins for the Ducks before Tanev’s long shot through traffic.
“It felt like it was going wide,” Andersen said. “I was trying to be ready for a potential deflection. That’s a seeing-eye shot and a tough one.”
VANCOUVER, BC – January 1: Ryan Kesler #17 of the Anaheim Ducks celebrates a goal against the Vancouver Canucks during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on January 1, 2016 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Derek Cain / ISN)
Former Canuck Ryan Kesler opened the scoring on a second-period power play, but was stopped in the opening round of the shootout. Jakob Silfverberg and Corey Perry were also stopped by Jacob Markstrom in the tiebreaker.
The Ducks (15-15-7) had their three-game win streak end.
“You’ve got to score more than one, you can’t keep doing this, but then again we hit five posts,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We’re getting opportunities every night like this to score where you’d think that in past times this same group would get four or five [goals], but now we’re getting one. It’s tough on the goalies to be perfect.”
Markstrom made 27 saves through overtime for the Canucks (15-15-9), who have won three of their past four games. Vancouver leapfrogged the San Jose Sharks into third place in the Pacific Division and matched the second-place Arizona Coyotes with 39 points, though the Coyotes have two games in hand. Anaheim is two points behind the Canucks and Sharks.
“Coming in we talked a lot in the room that this was a must game and guys stepped it up,” said Markstrom, who is 3-1-1 since No.1 goalie Ryan Miller injured his groin in a shootout on Dec. 20.
Markstrom knew he wouldn’t have much margin for error. So did Andersen.
VANCOUVER, BC – January 1: Vancouver Canucks celebrate a shootout win over the Anaheim Ducks at Rogers Arena on January 1, 2016 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Canucks won 2-1 in a shootout. (Photo by Derek Cain / ISN)
The Ducks led the NHL defensively in December, giving up the fewest shots and goals, but have struggled to score all season. Anaheim is last in the League with 68 non-shootout goals, but hit the post behind Markstrom twice in the first period before finally converting a power play 7:24 into the second.
Two former Canucks played a role in the goal, starting with defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who was playing his first game back in Vancouver since being traded to Anaheim on June 30 after 10 seasons with the Canucks.
Bieksa, who played 597 games for the Canucks, was welcomed back with a video tribute and standing ovation during a break in the first period.
“A lot of memories came rushing back when that came on,” Bieksa said. “It was humbling. It was flattering and I appreciate the support of the fans.”
He repaid them by drawing an interference penalty on Yannick Weber. Kesler, who orchestrated a trade to Anaheim in 2014 and was booed almost every time he touched the puck, scored with seven seconds left in the power play.
Mike Santorelli, another former Canuck, made a nice pass out of the left corner to Chris Stewart, who was wide-open at the right circle. Stewart, back in the lineup after four games as a healthy scratch, waited until Markstrom came out and committed to him before sliding the puck back across to Kesler, who fought off Matt Bartkowski‘s check to tap in his fifth goal this season and first point in six games.
Kesler admitted he gave his celebration “a little extra” after being booed.
“I was just savoring the moment there,” Kesler said.
Bieksa joked that Kesler was trying to take the pressure off him.
“He said before that he was going to try to get everybody to hate him and he did a great job of it tonight,” Bieksa said. “It’s nice when he gets that goal and throws it right back at the fans. It was fun to watch.”
The Ducks hit two more posts in the third period before Tanev tied it.
“It’s just the way our season has gone,” Bieksa said.