Burrows back-to-back hat-tricks powers Canucks past Coyotes

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By Steve Keating

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Alex Burrows fired a hat-trick for the second consecutive game and Roberto Luongo recorded his 50th career shutout as the red hot Vancouver Canucks blanked the Phoenix Coyotes 4-0 on Thursday.

Burrows, who collected his second career hat-trick in five seasons with a 7-3 decision over Columbus on Tuesday, waited just two days to notch his third, the sellout crowd at GM Place celebrating the feat by showering the ice with baseball caps.

"I wish I knew (how they were going in); right now I'm just getting shots through and they are finding ways to beat goalies," Burrows told reporters.

"Before the last two games I think I went 10 without a goal so I just kept working hard and right now it's paying off. I was kind of lucky but it was a big win for us."

It was also a successful night for Burrows' Swedish line mates, Henrik Sedin collecting three assists to take over the NHL points scoring lead with twin brother Daniel aiding twice.

Mikael Samuelsson claimed Vancouver's other goal.

The offensive burst was supported by a flawless performance by netminder Roberto Luongo, who stopped 31 shots to register his third shutout of the season.

The performance should attract the attention of Team Canada coaches, who are expected to hand the starting netminding assignment at next month's Vancouver Olympics to Luongo or Martin Brodeur, the NHL's all-time leader in shutout and wins.

"It's halfway to Marty so I've got a little bit of work to do," laughed Luongo. "I was able to make the first save and the guys were really doing a good job in front of net taking care of the rebounds. I don't think there were many second opportunities.

"We've got to win as many games as we can, you look at the standings and it's very tight right now."

Vancouver came out flying in the third, Burrows scoring twice in the first five minutes to complete the scoring and his hat-trick.

With their seventh win in eight games the streaking Canucks move into tie with the Calgary Flames for top spot in the Northwest standings, setting up a Saturday showdown with their division rivals.

(Editing by Patrick Johnston)