Finally, the slump is over. Or is it?
Alex Burrows, right after he scored the shorthanded game-winning goal on a breakaway, celebrated by trying to break his stick on his knee presumably to symbolize the team finally breaking out of their 8-game losing slump. Burrows tried twice; the stick didn’t break. I hope that’s not a bad omen.
At any rate, the Canucks were good last night, but they were also lucky.
First the good.
On my Twitter feed the other day, I commented that I didn’t like the idea of splitting up Burrows and Ryan Kesler, who has been the team’s most consistent forwards all season. Boy, did they prove me wrong.
Burrows’ line with Kyle Wellwood and Steve Bernier were a constant threat and combined for 6 of the Canucks’ 24 shots. Kesler, Pavol Demitra and Mats Sundin combined for 5 shots and 7 points (2G-5A). And of course, Kesler and Burrows played together on the penalty-kill and manufactured the game-winning goal.
Sundin also had a strong game. He logged 16:30 minutes of ice-time, recorded a goal, an assist and a +2 rating, and won 15 of 19 faceoffs (79%). In fact, he took a key faceoff in the Canucks zone with less than a minute left and trying to protect the lead. More importantly though, it looks like he’s finally moving his legs.
Now the lucky.
While the effort was definitely better, it still wasn’t complete. After building a 2-0 first period lead, they allowed Carolina to get back into the game. In 25 seconds. They also had some help from a shaky Cam Ward. (To be fair, Lui allowed a couple of iffy goals too.)
The trick of course is to sustain this level of play. That’s 2 fairly good, back-to-back efforts now and they gained 3 out of 4 points to boot. Who knows? Maybe they finally did exercise those GM Place demons for good.