Throwback time: Thanks to Alexandre Burrows’ heroics, the Vancouver Canucks were able to put an end to the Detroit Red Wings’ 23-game home winning streak.
When you think of Alexandre Burrows’ biggest goals with the Vancouver Canucks, you’ll always think of the “dragon slayer” against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7, nine years ago.
His overtime winner in Game 2 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins frequently comes to mind, too. And it’s hard to forget his series clincher in the extra frame of Game 4 against the St. Louis Blues in the 2009 Western Conference quarterfinals as the Canucks pulled off the four-game sweep.
But when I think of Burrows’ most heroic moments with the Canucks, I don’t only think of the playoff games. I always think of what he did on Feb. 23, 2012 at Joe Louis Arena against the Detroit Red Wings.
The Canucks entered that game with a 38-16-6 record, and they trailed the Red Wings by two points for the top seed in the Western Conference. Detroit carried a 23-game home winning streak — a record that stands today — into this contest.
If there was one team that would finally break this streak, it would be the defending Presidents’ Trophy winners and Western Conference Champions, right?
Well, it didn’t look like it would play out that way.
Detroit took the lead twice in the third period; Justin Abdelkader‘s goal with 6:14 left looked poised to hold up as the game winner. But Daniel Sedin rifled a slapshot past Jimmy Howard in the waning seconds to force overtime. And no, we cannot refer to this as a crowd silencer, because there were so many Canuck fans in attendance.
This game required a shootout, which seemingly favored Detroit. They defeated Vancouver in the skills competition at Rogers Arena three weeks earlier. And for what it was worth at the time, the Canucks had never defeated the Red Wings in a shootout. Ever.
But Burrows would change that.
Roberto Luongo held off all three attempts from the Red Wings, but Howard turned aside David Booth and Alexander Edler. After Luongo stopped former Canuck Todd Bertuzzi in round three, Burrows moved to centre ice with the chance to play hero.
And because this is No. 14, you just knew how it would play out.
That game turned out to be a season changer for both clubs. The Red Wings soon embarked on a six-game losing streak, and they fell all the way down to the No. 5 seed in the West — before the Nashville Predators dispatched them in five games during the opening round of the playoffs.
As for the Canucks, they narrowly finished ahead of the St. Louis Blues and captured their second straight Presidents’ Trophy with 111 points. Of course, they were upset by the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings in the first round, ruining what was supposed to be the year of redemption.
But let’s not forget the incredible breaking-the-stick-over-his-legs celebration that ended history. It’s not as iconic as the goal he scored against Chicago, but Burrows’ shootout winner on Feb. 23, 2012 also stands out as one of the brightest moments of his remarkable career in Vancouver.