After accusing a referee of making payback calls directly resulting in a loss, Burrows returns to the ice Wednesday night when the Vancouver Canucks attempt to continue their dominance of the Minnesota Wild.
Burrows is second on the Canucks (27-17-2) with 19 goals, one behind Henrik Sedin(notes). The left wing has scored nine times in the last five games, including hat tricks in consecutive contests last week en route to being named the NHL’s first star of the week Monday.
However, Burrows may have gained more notoriety for his comments about Stephane Auger, who he accused of targeting him during Monday’s 3-2 loss to Nashville.
Burrows scored twice early, but accumulated 16 penalty minutes in the third period alone. Auger first called Burrows for diving and interference, leaving him to eventually watch from the penalty box when Shea Weber(notes) scored the eventual game-winner for the Predators with less than five minutes remaining.
That was followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a misconduct with four seconds to play after Burrows confronted Auger.
Burrows said Monday that Auger told him during the pregame warmup he was going to “get me back” for a Dec. 8 incident that left Burrows lying on the ice but able to return for his next shift. Nashville’s Jerred Smithson(notes) received a major and game misconduct for charging, but the call was later overturned by the league because it said Burrows took a dive.
“It was personal,” Burrows said. “It started in warm-up before the anthem. The ref came over to me and said I made him look bad in Nashville on the Smithson hit. He said he was going to get me back and he did his job in the third.”
“He is a character guy. Every guy in that room would go through the wall for him,” O’Brien said. “Obviously he was upset, and that happens sometimes, but we’re moving forward. We need him focused and playing his game. Because without him, we’re definitely not as good a hockey team.”
While the NHL investigates the incident, the Canucks will try to avoid a season high-tying three-game slide, and first since Nov. 6-12.
Burrows has four goals and two assists while helping Vancouver win five straight over Minnesota (23-20-3). He scored in the most recent meeting, a 4-3 victory on Dec. 12.
The Canucks are 8-0-1 in their last nine against their Northwest Division rival, and have won four in a row at the Xcel Energy Center.
Sedin has had two goals and 12 assists over the last nine matchups with the Wild, and the center has accumulated five goals and 14 assists during a 10-game points streak after setting up Burrows’ first goal Monday.
Sedin leads the NHL with 63 points, and is two goals shy of matching his career high set last season.
Guillaume Latendresse(notes) will try to help the Wild win their fourth consecutive game after he had a career-high three assists before scoring the eventual winner with 13:47 left in Monday’s 4-3 victory over Pittsburgh.
Latendresse has four goals and four assists in the last four games. He’s been superb with 10 goals and five assists in 21 games since Minnesota acquired him in a trade from Montreal on Nov. 23.
“His play is elevated, and you can see that he’s real confident,” first-year coach Todd Richards said. “If he gets a step on you, you’re beat. There’s nothing you can do to stop him.”
Latendresse, who had three points in 23 appearances with the Canadiens this season, has none in three career meetings with the Canucks.