(Reuters) - Right winger Alex Burrows ended his goal drought at the right time — even though the tally won’t count in his personal statistics.
Burrows scored the shootout winner as the Vancouver Canucks edged the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 on Friday night.
“It’s been a while so it’s always nice to contribute a little bit,” said Burrows, who had not scored since Nov. 21 — a span of 17 games. “I didn’t know what to do. I went in and saw a spot and was able to hit it.”
The Canucks (15-15-9) posted their fourth win in six games. The Ducks (15-15-7) saw their win streak end at three games.
Center Ryan Kesler scored in regulation for the Ducks while defenseman Chris Tanev netted the other goal for the Canucks.
Anaheim goaltender Frederik Andersen made 24 saves and Vancouver goalie Jacob Markstrom posted 27 saves.
Burrows scored on a wrist shot on the first shootout attempt before all remaining shooters from both teams were stopped.
The wrister was a variance of his self-described “signature” shootout move, which comprises a forehand -to-backhand deke and has been successful at times in previous seasons.
“I’ve done that in past and I did it first game against them (and scored),” he recalled.
“I did the loop but, normally, once I do my first turn I stare at the goalie and he is moving and I try to get him off the center of his net — but (Andersen) didn’t move at all. He was just staring me down and I went, and then he moved and it opened up a little bit and I was able to hit the spot.”
Burrows now has five game-deciding shootout goals in his career after improving to two goals in four showdown sessions this season.
“He was waiting for a spot and he found it,” said Andersen.
Shootout goals are not included in a player’s individual season stats, but Burrows did produce a critical point that counted.
He earned an assist on defenseman Chris Tanev’s tying goal at 10:24 of the third period while sending the puck back to the blue line.
Tanev, who returned to the Vancouver lineup after missing two games with a bruised foot, beat Andersen with a long wrist shot just inside post on the short side.
The assist was Burrows’ first official point since the aforementioned goal on November 21, which came in a win over Chicago.
Andersen had many skaters in front of him, but Burrows, who was in front of the goalie at the time, said the shot did not hit him.
“I don’t think so,” said Burrows. “It went close but I was just happy we were able to tie it up.”
The goal was the only one the Ducks allowed in regulation time as they went 2-0-1 on a road trip through Western Canada.
“It was a great play by Burr,” said Tanev, who now has two goals this season.
“I think he beat two guys and then got the puck up to me. I was just trying to get it by the first guy and then (Burrows) went to the net and ended up screening the goalie, too.”
Anaheim entered the game with two 1-0 wins in Calgary and Edmonton and almost had a third.
“It felt like it was going wide,” said Andersen. “I was trying to be ready for a potential deflection. It could glance off (a player’s) pants. That’s a seeing-eye shot and a tough one.”
Kesler scored on a power play at 7:24 of the second period, putting in a back-door pass from right winger Chris Stewart, who dressed after sitting out for games as a healthy scratch. The goal came while Canucks defenseman Yannick Weber was off for an interference penalty on Ducks defenseman Kevin Bieksa.
“We played good enough to win,” said Kesler. “Sometimes you’re not going to win games. That’s the way this league is. Five out of six points on the road is good, especially with the back-to-back (in Edmonton and Vancouver) here at the end and with travel and not getting in until late.”
Bieksa played his first game in Vancouver since being traded to Anaheim from the Canucks in the offseason.
During a TV timeout, the Canucks saluted Bieksa, who played 10 seasons in Vancouver, on the scoreboard. Bieksa stood up, raised his stick in appreciation and clapped his gloves while the crowd applauded him.
“He was a fierce competitor, a great teammate and played with his heart on his sleeve and it was nice to see the ovation he got tonight,” said Burrows.
However, with the Canucks still struggling to score and playing inconsistent defensively, Burrows was not ready to toot a horn for his team or himself.
“We’re in a battle for the playoffs,” said Burrows. “We have to find ways to be better.”
Editing by Sudipto Ganguly