Alex Burrows felt the puck in his glove, dropped it, saw that it was rolling and saw something else. Ice. Free ice. A path to the net.

After all that had happened for seven full games, and a little bit more — a goal, earlier, but a plethora of missed chances already this night, then a two-minute eternity spent in the penalty box to start overtime — it seemed a little too good to be true, frankly.

The missed chances always come back to haunt you.

And yet, here was one more, a clearing attempt served up by Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Chris Campoli that didn't clear, but ended up in Burrows' outstretched glove.

"I knew I was going to have a step on the guy who shot it, and I just dropped it and I could see the puck was rolling, so I wanted just to make sure it was going on net," he said, in the elation and relief and giddy air of celebration that followed the Vancouver Canucks' 2-1 overtime win in Game 7.

"Those are tough shots for goalies to stop, it kind of butterflied or, I don't know what the word is ... knuckled right right through his blocker, and then ..."

And then?

"Then I got hit by a few guys."

Yes, he did. By every one of his 19 teammates, who piled on him and hugged him and whooped it up as though they'd won the damned Stanley Cup — and maybe, if that's what happens six or seven weeks from now, it's not going to feel any better than this for a team that looked as though it had blown Game 7 the same way it had blown a 3-0 series lead.

So what hit Burrows was the weight of his fellow strivers, and of his franchise, and of his city, all wrapping him up in a great big thank-you for salvaging — at the end of a whale of a hockey game — their good name.

The scenario, said Roberto Luongo, who nearly pitched a perfect game in the most pressure-packed game of his National Hockey League career, was eerily like the Olympic gold medal game of last February, when Zach Parise scored for the United States in the final strokes of regulation to send it into overtime.

This time, irony of ironies, it was Canada's best forward in those Olympics, Jonathan Toews — crawling and lunging and, from his stomach, poking the puck past Luongo for the shorthanded goal with 116 seconds left in regulation to get the Blackhawks to extra time.