VANCOUVER -- He is preaching patience and doing his best to stay positive, but Alex Burrows is also frustrated.
Mired in one of the worst scoring slumps of his career, Burrows can’t seem to buy a goal.
The Vancouver Canucks have managed just one goal in each of their last four games. Burrows hasn’t managed any at all in the 10 games he has played this season.
Sunday night’s game against the Dallas Stars was like so many other games this season for Burrows. He had chances, a couple of really good ones, but can’t get the puck into the net.
Late in the second period of Sunday night’s 2-1 loss to the Stars, Burrows made what looked like a brilliant redirect of a Henrik Sedin pass. Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen was clearly beaten, but the puck rattled off the far post.
“It’s a game of inches,” a downcast Burrows said after the game.
It wouldn’t be so bad if that was the only one that got away. But there have been many others for Burrows, who could easily have a half-dozen goals this season. He’s had so many chances that in past years he’d automatically convert.
Burrows is frustrated that when he could have made a difference in games this year, he hasn’t.
“I have to score those,” he said. “There are a lot of one-goal games and if those go in we are on the winning side of things. So I just have to bear down and the next one hopefully will go in.”
In an effort to kickstart Daniel and Henrik Sedin and get Burrows off the schneid, coach John Tortorella reunited Burrows with the twins Sunday night.
The trio combined for 16 of Vancouver’s 43 shots.
“He’s getting his chances, he’s had some glorious chances,” Tortorella said of Burrows. “Tonight when he hits the post that could have been a huge momentum shift for us. As I said about the team, Burr has to continue to do the same things he’s doing. He’s on the puck, our puck possession really through most of the year has been really good, pretty consistent. We just need to try and finish.”
“It’s such a small difference between winning and losing,” Henrik Sedin said of Burrows’ shot that rang off the post. “If that puck goes in or my (disallowed) goal counts, they are scrambling. if we tie the game, I think it is going to go the other way. But now they are up 1-0 going into the third and they get the second one right away. That is how tight it is.”
Burrows’ slump would not be as big a concern as it now is if the rest of the Canucks were picking up some of the goal-scoring slack. But no one seems to be converting these days.
Ryan Kesler and Daniel Sedin have each gone six games without a goal, Mike Santorelli has only one goal in his last 17 games and David Booth hasn’t scored in his last 10 games.
And Vancouver’s defence, which has been such a consistent offensive contributor in recent years, has also gone cold. Jason Garrison scored in the first two games of the season, but has not scored since. Alex Edler hasn’t scored in 13 games and Kevin Bieksa has just one goal this season.
Burrows, of course, has been a reliable goal-scorer for the Canucks. He had a 35-goal season in 2009-10 and has had three other seasons of 26 or more goals. His current slump matches the longest he has endured since he went 12 games without a goal way back in 2008-09.
““I’m still stuck at zero, so I just have to stay positive,” he said. “I have been through this before. I just have to keep shooting and going at the net. When they start going in, sometimes it’s a funny thing, they all go in and even if it’s not the best shot. They just find a way to trickle in.
“So I just have to stick with it. We are doing a lot of good things, we out-chanced them again tonight and we had a lot of good chances, threw a lot of pucks on net. Their goalie played well. We just have to forget about this one and move on.”
Burrows tries not to dwell on all of his close calls this season, which is easier said than done.
“You look at them, you try to learn and you move on,” he said. “I don’t lose any sleep over it. But I know if I score those our team is going to win more games. I put pressure on myself to succeed and I know I have to be better.”
© Copyright (c) canada.com