April 27, 2011
In the opening minutes of Game 7 between the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks and the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks, Ryan Kesler(notes) slipped a perfect pass to Canucks teammate Alex Burrows between the circles. After his snap of the puck beat Corey Crawford(notes) at 2:43, Burrows dropped to one knee, slid to the boards and was mauled by his teammates. Alex Burrows began the game as a hero.
Twenty-one seconds into the third period of Game 7, Burrows was taken down by Duncan Keith(notes) unabated to the goaltender and rewarded with a penalty shot. He skated in on Crawford with an all-too-careful deliberateness, firing a shot that was easily turned aside. Vancouver still led 1-0. Alex Burrows was still a hero.
With just over 5 minutes left in regulation of Game 7, Chris Higgins's(notes) shot produced a juicy rebound for Burrows … but he glanced the puck with the heel of his stick and Crawford made the save. Burrows was on one knee as the sequence ended, dropping an expletive in frustration. Vancouver still led 1-0. Alex Burrows was still a hero. Though not for long.
In the final minutes of regulation in Game 7, with his team on a power play, Kevin Bieksa's(notes) pass for Burrows at center ice was a little long but manageable. But Brent Seatbrook knocked it off Burrows's stick, Jonathan Toews(notes) stole the puck, and at 18:04 of the third period the Blackhawks captain tied the game with a stunning shorthanded goal. The score was now 1-1. Alex Burrows was suddenly a goat.
Twenty-four seconds into overtime of Game 7, Burrows tried to make an aggressive play in the attacking zone, wrapping his arms around Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith as he played the puck. Keith fell to the ice, the referee's arm went up, and Burrows went to the penalty box on a holding minor. The player who opened the scoring for the Canucks appeared to have handed the game to Chicago in the end. But Vancouver would kill off the power play. The score was still 1-1. And Alex Burrows was now a bigger goat.
Just over 5 minutes into overtime of Game 7, Burrows intercepted a pass by Blackhawks defenseman Chris Campoli(notes), skated in on Crawford and ripped a perfect shot to beat a goalie that had personified perfection since Burrows's opening tally, stopping 36 shots in the game.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs are a place where the shamed can find redemption. Sometimes it takes three playoff series, as it did for Roberto Luongo(notes) against the Blackhawks, who was finally emancipated from their psychological grip on him.
Other times, it can happen within a single Game 7, in a span of 65:22.
Alex Burrows ended the game as a hero.