Canucks sink Canes to halt losing skid
The Vancouver Canucks finally weathered the storm Tuesday night, ending an eight-game winless drought and franchise-worst nine-game losing streak on home ice with a 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes at General Motors Place.
Alex Burrows broke a 3-3 deadlock in dramatic fashion, beating Hurricanes netminder Cam Ward on a short-handed breakaway with 82 seconds remaining.
"It was a huge goal, not only for me but the team," Burrows said.
The Canucks had reason to be concerned, with defenceman Mattias Ohlund serving a hooking penalty and the Hurricanes having tallied twice on their first three power plays.
But Ryan Kesler sped to the puck ahead of Hurricanes rearguard Joni Pitkanen and chipped it up to Burrows, who burst in alone and roofed a backhand shot high to Ward's stick side for the decisive goal.
"People were probably thinking it was another one of those games we wouldn't be able to close, but we found a way to get it done," Burrows said. "We're going in the right direction now."
"We knew we had to be good on that final PK," Kesler said. "We didn't want to give up another [goal].
"It was a lucky bounce, the defenceman stepped up and Burrows was behind him. It was a good goal."
Kesler had one goal and two assists for the Canucks (23-20-8), who had set a franchise mark with nine losses in a row (0-6-3) at GM Place since shutting out the Ottawa Senators 3-0 on Dec. 28.
"Obviously, it was on our minds," said Canucks captain Roberto Luongo, who posted 24 saves. "You try not to think about it, but it is kind of hard."
With the win, the Canucks moved into seventh-place in the Western Conference standings, one point ahead of the Minnesota Wild, Edmonton Oilers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Phoenix Coyotes.
"It is a relief," Luongo said. "We have got it out of the way now and we can focus on winning some games.
"Good teams find ways to win no matter what the circumstances are. Tonight, we found a way to do that."
Mats Sundin contributed one goal and one assist for the Canucks, while Kevin Bieksa opened the scoring with a power-play goal 2:21 into the contest.
Sundin's goal was a gem as he skated out from behind the net, only to be stopped at the left post by Ward, then turned back and scored on a wraparound at the right post.
Pavol Demitra provided Vancouver with three assists in his returned from a three-game absence (groin).
Joe Corvo and Eric Staal each had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes (25-22-5), winners in four of their previous five outings.
Pitkanen scored the other goal, Ray Whitney had two assists and Ward made 20 saves in his 17th consecutive start.
"Nothing felt right tonight," Ward said. "It wasn't my greatest game and it is disappointing because we needed these points."
After Bieksa and Kesler staked the Canucks to a 2-0 lead in the first period, Corvo and Pitkanen 25 seconds apart midway through the second period to tie it.
Sundin's third restored Vancouver's lead with 4:50 left in the period, but Staal converted a slick cross-ice pass from Whitney to knot it 33 seconds into the third.
Carolina hasn't won at Vancouver since Oct. 15, 1999, losing five straight since.
With files from the Canadian Press