Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Burrows grateful for 'great finish'

Categories: Chicago Blackhawks, VAN vs. CHI, Vancouver Canucks

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Canucks forward Alex Burrows (14) is embraced by captain Henrik Sedin upon scoring the series-clinching goal in a 2-1 overtime victory over the Blackhawks in Game 7 at Rogers Arena on Tuesday. (Rich Lam/Getty Images) Canucks forward Alex Burrows (14) is embraced by captain Henrik Sedin upon scoring the series-clinching goal in a 2-1 overtime victory over the Blackhawks in Game 7 at Rogers Arena on Tuesday. (Rich Lam/Getty Images)

Finally, he was Alexandre the Great.

Questioned by media for a lack of playing big in the playoffs, Alex Burrows scored the biggest goal of his career Tuesday. But his game winner for the Vancouver Canucks in overtime, a terrific goal which he generated all on his own by gloving a clearing attempt, almost didn't happen.

Burrows took a penalty in the first minute of OT and the Chicago Blackhawks had an excellent scoring opportunity to win it.

"It was a great finish, but I just want to thank the guys for killing the penalty early in overtime," Burrows said. "That's the worst spot to be - in the penalty box - and I'm happy Lui [Roberto Luongo] made a save off [Patrick] Sharp so I could get back out there and get a shot on net.

"Obviously, we didn't make it easy on ourselves. It was pretty devastating when they got that tying goal, but we had a breakdown in coverage and they had a lucky break."

The goal ruined a sensational game for Chicago netminder Corey Crawford. His string of three saves in the third, punctuated by a desperate glove stop on Ryan Kesler, allowed the Blackhawks to score late and send the game to OT.

"I don't think anyone would have believed we would have came back and forced a Game 7," Crawford said. "I felt good.

"It didn't matter the score, I was just trying to give my team a chance to stay in the game. I felt, eventually, we were going to get one."

The legend of Jonathan Toews only grows, despite the fact he only scored one goal in the series. But what a goal. Shorthanded, Toews beat three Canucks and put the tying goal in from his stomach with two minutes to go in Game 7.

"On a personal level, there's nothing more frustrating," Toews said of not winning. "You feel you're playing well and you're doing everything you can around the net.

"I kept telling myself there was going to be a big one coming. One more, that's all we needed."

Toews helped turn the series around off the ice when he suggested after going down 3-0 that the Canucks were vulnerable and not as good as people thought.

"People want to talk about what we were saying early on in the series, that we were saying that's a beatable team and that they have holes," Toews said. "I mean, obviously, that's a great team.

"You've got to give them credit for what they did tonight, for how they hung in there. But we know what we have in this locker room and we'll learn from this experience from going down 3-0 in a series and how tough it is to come back."

Luongo revealed just how much it meant to him to beat Chicago when he compared his Game 7 win in the first round of the playoffs to his Olympic gold medal.

"This one might be better than the Olympics," he said.

'Be a hero' 

It was similar. Much like Zach Parise did for Team USA, Toews scored late in the third period, beating Luongo and sending the game to overtime. That's when Luongo stood up and addressed his team in the locker room.

"I said, 'This is Game 7, OT. It doesn't get any better than this. This is what we dream of as a kid. Somebody is going to take the opportunity and be a hero,'" Luongo said.

Burrows was the hero, but Luongo made a huge save on Sharp while the Canucks were shorthanded.

"It was almost an identical scenario [to the Olympics]," Luongo said. "The only difference is I felt more comfortable than I did the last time because it [the Olympics] was my first."

Luongo was passed over for the Game 6 start and it's that decision which may have helped him clutch up and win Game 7.

"I think the best thing that could have happened to me, probably, was going in late to Game 6," he said. "I didn't have to think, just went in there and played and just made saves.

"The last three games, four games, felt like I was being tested. This is what it's all about. You find ways."

Kesler also used the Olympic comparison.

"There were some similarities," said Kesler, who lost the gold-medal game as a member of Team USA. "But I wanted this game more than the gold medal.

"Not to take anything away from the gold medal, it's something really special. "But you work all year for this and I've played with most of these guys for six, seven years and we've grown together and we've become family."