DALLAS— On the Canucks’ best power play of the game, they didn’t even score.
Instead, they danced with the puck in what may be the most arresting, mesmerizing shift you will see this season.
When dominant football teams get the ball late in the game, often they will run it up the gut of the defence, four or five yards at a time. The defence is helpless.
That’s how the Dallas Stars looked after Derek Roy took a penalty with 2:01 left.
The Canucks power play got a hold of the puck, and never let it go. They passed it. They froze the puck. They twisted and turned. They were relaxed and in complete control. What they didn’t do was shoot. Instead they essentially kneeled the game out in victory formation.
"It was fun to watch," Jason Garrison said. "I’m kind of speechless.
"I don’t even know what to say.
"That’s how good the players are. That’s how much they can control the game. They made the game look really easy. It’s definitely not as easy as it looks. They did a great job of achieving that."
With four forwards, including Alex Burrows, Ryan Kesler, and the Sedins, and one defencmean, Alex Edler, it was an unusual lineup head coach Alain Vigneault opted to use.
"Normally, he likes to have two D-men to make sure there’s nothing happening, but he sent us four forwards and Eddie," Burrows said. "Once we won the faceoff and I saw Henrik holding on to it, I knew exactly what he was trying to do. Hold on to the puck, and make sure they were getting tired on the PK.
"Once you are past that first minute, those PKers have been starting and stopping and they get tired a little bit."
The Canucks group put in a shift that lasted 2:01 and they didn’t lose possession until the last second of the game. It was fascinating to watch. It also helped Burrows redeem himself for a couple of miscues in the game.
Burrows is looking increasingly comfortable on the first-unit power play. He’s been taking Kesler’s spot as the net front presence and it has helped spread out Vancouver’s look.
"It’s a different look, it’s not an overload power play," Burrows said. "It’s more of a spread power play. We have Kes’s big shot from one side, and Eddie’s big shot up top. Hank is then able to make plays with Danny through the middle.
"It keeps the PK guessing on a lot of plays. We’re able to get pucks toward the net and we have guys converging toward the net which can create odd-man rushes on those rebounds. Normally it’s a 3-on-2 or a 4-on-2.
"You can get some bounces going your way."
Burrows scored his fifth of the season when he tipped in a Edler blast 8:29 into the game. It’s the third time in three games the Canucks have scored with Burrows screening the goalie.
But with Burrows’ good, came some bad. Twice in the game he took the Canucks off the power play by taking penalties of his own.
"I have to be smarter at the end of the day," Burrows said. "I can’t take two penalties like I did tonight. It kills our momentum on the power play. It takes away from scoring chances.
"It puts us on our heels again on the PK. I have to make sure it’s a little more legal or find ways that I don’t get caught.
"But we’re battling out front. Sometimes it’s going to go my way, sometimes it won’t."
© Copyright (c) The Province