BOSTON — The Stanley Cup finals never seemed farther away than when Alex Burrows skated in half-empty Southern rinks for something called the Greenville Grrrowl, making less than $500 a week and wondering whether he should go back to school.

Burrows spent his first two seasons in pro hockey riding buses in the ECHL, living on that meager paycheck and wondering if he'd ever get a break.

Seven years later, he's contending for the Conn Smythe Trophy as an essential part of the Vancouver Canucks' run at their first championship.

Burrows made a major impact on the first two games against Boston. In Game 1, he drew the Bruins' ire by appearing to bite Patrice Bergeron's finger. He then dominated Game 2 with three points, including the winning overtime goal.