Jordan Schroeder #45 of the Vancouver Canucks celebrates after scoring his first goal in the NHL as Matt Stajan #18 of the Calgary Flames skates away during the second period in NHL action on Feb. 9, 2013 at Rogers Arena.
Photograph by: Rich Lam, Getty Images
Jordan Schroeder got two pucks and one towel and a story to tell his grandchildren 40 years from now.
At the end of “Hockey Day in Canada,” the little American scored the first two goals of his National Hockey League career and helped the Vancouver Canucks extend their winning streak to five games with a 5-1 win against the Calgary Flames.
It lifted weight from Schroeder's shoulders after eight games without scoring – and a week watching his potential lineup replacement, Ryan Kesler, practising with the team – and lifted the Canucks to 7-2-2.
They hit the quarter-pole of the 48-game season Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild. Vancouver's annual Superskills competition is today. Schroeder has lots of those.
His vision and creativity with the puck allowed the 22-year-old rookie to move on to the first unit power play Saturday, and his deft redirect of Alex Edler's pass broke a 1-1 tie at 9:01 of the second period. Schroeder doubled his career goals total at 15:41 of the third period when he chipped in the rebound from Mason Raymond's shot.
He was interviewed on Hockey Night in Canada – his parents back in Minnesota will have to Youtube it – and Schroeder kept the CBC's monogrammed towel to go with his two souvenir pucks.
“To pop the first one was definitely a weight off my shoulders,” Schroeder said. “But I was more happy the team could win, too. I think each and every game I kept getting more comfortable and more comfortable.
“Guys in here are so supportive. The guys were all excited for me. That's what kind of team it is here; they care for each other. It's a big family here.”
Teammates playfully mugged and cuffed Schroeder as he skated by the bench for high-fives after his first goal, which he seemed to greet with disbelief, standing frozen in the slot as the puck curled under Calgary goalie Leland Irving before raising his arms to the heavens.
Canuck coach Alain Vigneault said: “You could see (the happiness) on our bench – just like when Chris Tanev scored in Edmonton – another one of our young players coming in and finding a way to score his first goal. Jordan has played well for us. He has been improving every game.”
So, too, have the Canucks.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin combined for four points, their first multi-point games in two weeks, and Hank moved within a point of Markus Naslund's franchise scoring record of 756. Goalie Cory Schneider, finally given another chance to play consecutive games after watching Roberto Luongo start four in a row, made 33 saves and won for the fourth time in five games since opening night.
“Roberto didn't deserve to come out of the net; he was playing so well,” Schneider said. “For me to come in for two in a row, it was nice to contribute and chip in and do my share. I can't tell you what's going to happen from here but it's nice to help the team win.
“We're having a lot of success right now. We're playing the way we want to play. Lou and I are both in a rhythm and hitting our stride. We both really want to contribute and as long as we do that, we'll figure this out.”
What needs figuring, of course, is how to divide the playing time until Luongo is traded, whenever that may be. But for the first time this season, Vigneault was not asked post-game to explain his goaltending choice or who might play next.
“Remember this day,” Vigneault smiled.
The Canucks barely had two scoring chances before they scored two goals, 27 seconds apart, halfway though the second period to turn the game in their favour.
Alex Burrows erased a 1-0 deficit at 8:34 of the middle period, diving into the crease to poke in a loose puck after Calgary defenceman Jay Bouwmeester tried to kick away Henrik Sedin's centring pass and instead deflected it on net.
On the next shift, Flame Jiri Hudler took a hooking penalty, and 14 seconds after that the Canucks were ahead on Schroeder's redirection.
The rapid-fire goals fired up the Canucks. Vancouver made it 3-1 at 17:37 when a titanic net-front battle between Burrows and Bouwmeester obscured Irving enough for Kevin Bieksa to score from the point.
And although it was unlikely the Flames, at the end of a three-game road trip and missing several regulars including top goalie Mikka Kiprusoff, were going to muster a comeback, Canuck Chris Higgins made sure of the victory by scoring on a wrist shot 1:18 into the third period.
Schneider surrendered only a first-period goal to Lee Stepniak, who scored from close range after Edler lost his stick and the puck behind the Vancouver net.
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