Game Day: Canucks’ Burrows ready to revel in Chicago’s ‘Madhouse’

 

 
 
 
 
Cue up the old rivalry: Canucks winger Alex Burrows (on top) and Blackhawks blue-liner Duncan Keith (on the bottom) will renew acquaintances on Thursday night at Chicago's United Center.
 

Cue up the old rivalry: Canucks winger Alex Burrows (on top) and Blackhawks blue-liner Duncan Keith (on the bottom) will renew acquaintances on Thursday night at Chicago's United Center.

Photograph by: Bill Smith, NHLI via Getty Images

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CHICAGO — In a loud rink and frenzied atmosphere in which it is easy to lose your head, the Vancouver Canucks are preaching discipline for tonight's game (5:30 p.m., PT, on Sportsnet Pacific, TSN 1040) against their old enemy, the Chicago Blackhawks.

And while the rivalry, dimmed by the passage of years and players, isn't nearly what it once was, the atmosphere in the United Center, the “Madhouse on Madison,” is largely unchanged.

"Maybe for some players it's just another game but for me, anytime I come to the Madhouse here it's something special," Canucks winger Alex Burrows said after this morning's skate. "Just going out for warmup, fans are fired up and screaming at me, obnoxious. But they support their team as one of the best fan bases I've seen in the league. And once the anthem gets going, that gets you fired up even more. For me it's always fun to come here. And it's such a good feeling when you come into the locker room after a win in this building. Hopefully, we'll be able to do that again tonight."

Burrows appreciates the chance to play tonight, after the National Hockey League ruled against suspending him for an away-from-the-puck collision with Nashville Predator Paul Gaustad that forced the Canucks to survive a late major penalty to the Burrows before Vancouver won 5-4 in a shootout.

Canucks coach Willie Desjardins was relieved his team managed to win despite surrendering two goals to Nashville's power play, including a tying goal with 5:03 remaining in the third period when Chris Higgins was in the penalty box for hooking, and playing shorthanded for 13:59.

On a team day off here Wednesday, Desjardins called a meeting of the Canucks' leadership group and told them the team had to be more disciplined. Burrows and Kevin Bieksa, who took a 10-minute misconduct for taunting Gaustad as he lay on the ice, were part of the six-player group.

"We were fortunate to get out of that game," Desjardins said. "Like, how would we have felt if we played that hard and ended up losing that (on a penalty) with one minute left in the game? That would have been a lot of work for nothing. And we put ourselves in that spot. We can't do that. We can't put ourselves in that spot; that's what we talked about."

Even Desjardins had a moment of madness on Tuesday, dropping an F-bomb on a linesman who came to the bench to join the referee's explanation of the major penalty and game misconduct to Burrows.

"I was out of line," Desjardins said. "I was wrong and I was fortunate we didn't get a penalty out of it. I got a break on that one, and it's something that can't happen again."

Burrows admitted he was worried he could be suspended even though Gaustad, looking the other way, turned slightly into him before what the Canuck said was an "accidental" collision.

"I was relieved for sure," Burrows said. "Like I said after the game, I never meant to hurt him or anything. But you never know. You could watch 10 clips (of the incident) and some guys would say it's a suspension, and some guys would say it's not. So you're always hoping you get on the lucky side of things."

The Canucks are trying to win their sixth straight road game, and third in a row on this trip after sweeping back-to-back games against the Predators and St. Louis Blues.

The Blackhawks are coming off an impressive two-night sweep, too, having beaten the Los Angeles Kings and Winnipeg Jets after losing three out of four of their previous games.

The NHL's new division-centric playoff format means the conference standings don't have the same gravity, but a regulation win tonight by the Canucks move them within a point of the Blackhawks.

Second in the Pacific Division with a seven-point playoff "cushion," Vancouver is 2-0 against Chicago this season and won 5-4 in overtime here on Feb. 11.

The Blackhawks, third in the Central Division but only a point behind the Blues, can clinch a playoff berth tonight.

Asked if playoff seedings mean anything anymore, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said: "It's a good question. We always say get into the playoffs, and finishing as high as we can is our next goal, and then first place is our next goal. But I know the other day it looked like, 'Hey, we're just happy to get into the playoffs.'

"Right now, I think we have seven teams we could possibly play in the first round, which is pretty amazing."

Canuck Eddie Lack and Blackhawk Corey Crawford are the starting goalies tonight.

• INJURIES:

Canucks: G Ryan Miller (knee), RW Zack Kassian (back), C Brad Richardson (ankle).

Blackhawks: RW Patrick Kane (clavicle), LW Daniel Carcillo (upper body), C Joakim Nordstrom (shoulder).

• PROBABLE LINES:

Canucks: Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Alex Burrows; Chris Higgins-Nick Bonino-Radim Vrbata; Ronalds Kenins-Bo Horvat-Jannik Hansen; Shawn Matthias-Linden Vey-Derek Dorsett.

Blackhawks: Kris Versteeg-Jonathan Toews-Marian Hossa; Antoine Vermette-Brad Richards-Patrick Sharp; Bryan Bickell-Andrew Shaw-Bradon Saad; Andrew Desjardins-Marcus Kruger-Kyle Baun/Teuvo Teravainen.

imacintyre@vancouversun.com

Twitter.com/imacvansun

 
 
 
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Cue up the old rivalry: Canucks winger Alex Burrows (on top) and Blackhawks blue-liner Duncan Keith (on the bottom) will renew acquaintances on Thursday night at Chicago's United Center.
 

Cue up the old rivalry: Canucks winger Alex Burrows (on top) and Blackhawks blue-liner Duncan Keith (on the bottom) will renew acquaintances on Thursday night at Chicago's United Center.

Photograph by: Bill Smith, NHLI via Getty Images

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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