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Cullen: Burrows, Malhotra lift Canucks to 2-0 series lead

Scott Cullen
6/5/2011 12:15:29 AM
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Alex Burrows was not only in the Canucks lineup for Game Two, he ended up as the hero of the day, scoring the overtime winner to give Vancouver a 2-0 lead in the series.

Burrows, who escaped suspension after biting the finger of Boston's Patrice Bergeron in Game One, factored into every Canucks goal, scoring the first and last and assisting on the Canucks' tying goal in the third period. It was Burrows' second three-point game of the playoffs; he had one three-point game in 72 regular-season games this season.

Burrows now has nine goals, one behind the playoff leaders (David Krejci and Martin St. Louis) and his 17 points is tied for seventh. His two overtime game winners -- Game Seven in Round One against Chicago and Saturday, in Game Two of the Stanley Cup Final -- have been the biggest of the Canucks' postseason.

While Burrows was the story of the game for the Canucks, the complementary piece was the return of Manny Malhotra, playing his first game since suffering an eye injury against Colorado on March 16.

Malhotra won 6-of-7 faceoffs (85.7%) while playing a modest 7:26. He's not going to step back into his customary third line role, but he can still help and, given all he's been through, it's amazing.

Alexander Edler led Canucks defencemen with 24:53 on ice and contributed two assists to the winning cause.

Boston did get goals from Mark Recchi and Milan Lucic. It ended an 11-game goal (and eight-game point) drought for Recchi. Recchi's goal came on the power play, a rare occurrence for the Bruins and it came with Zdeno Chara on the point.

Generally, though, it was a rough night for Chara. He turned over the puck on the play that led to Vancouver's second goal and was beaten around the net by Burrows for the wrap-around winner.

Having played more than 28 minutes in each of the first two games of the final series, Chara appeared fatigued at times.

Andrew Ference, who only occasionally shared the ice with Chara in Game Two, started the overtime period paired with the Bruins' workhorse and, for the second time in the game, a Ference turnover resulted in a Vancouver goal. His failed clearing attempt on a Vancouver power play was quickly turned into Burrows' first goal and an errant neutral zone bank pass was quickly countered and turned into the winning goal.

The Bruins, wary of the Canucks having last change, didn't want both Chara and Seidenberg on in case the Canucks didn't start the Sedin line in overtime, and hoped that the puck would get deep off the opening faceoff, allowing Ference to change and have Seidenberg get on the ice for the customary matchup against the Canucks' top line.

Vancouver's Roberto Luongo holds an advantage in goal through the first two games, stopping 64 of 66 shots (.970) to Thomas' 63 of 67 (.940); yes, it's a slight margin but, if they expect to win, the Bruins can't afford to not have Thomas come in as the second-best goaltender in the series.

Going back to Boston, and perhaps reeling after the heartbreaking fashion in which they've lost the first two games (with 19 seconds left in regulation in Game One and 11 seconds into OT in Game Two), the Bruins will have last change, so they should be able to get Chara on against the Sedins. The challenge may be trying to put a cap on Chara's minutes as a tired Chara isn't the same shutdown presence that he is when at his best.

Vancouver, riding momentum, now needs just two wins to capture the Stanley Cup. They've been good through the first two games, but the margin of difference between the teams has been close enough that the Canucks should realize the tide could turn in Boston.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.



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