The Vancouver Canucks’ drive for five started slowly but got a big boost from a little engine and ended with a 5-1 victory Saturday against the Calgary Flames.
Five-foot-eight rookie Jordan Schroeder scored the first two goals of his National Hockey League career, including one that broke a 1-1 tie halfway through the second period and propelled the Canucks towards their fifth straight victory. Vancouver is 7-2-2.
Canuck Henrik Sedin moved within a point of tying Markus Naslund’s franchise record of 756, as Henrik and brother Daniel registered two points apiece for the first time in two weeks.
The Flames, running short of energy and healthy bodies, fell to 3-4-2.
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 goalie Leland Irving.
On the next shift, Flame Jiri Hudler took a hooking penalty, and 14 seconds after that the Canucks were ahead. Schroeder, elevated to the struggling first-unit power play, found space in the high slot to redirect Alex Edler’s hard pass through Irving for his first NHL goal.
Schroeder, who had several near-misses in his first eight games with the Canucks, looked momentarily stunned by his score and stood in the slot, arms raised to the heavens before he was mobbed by teammates.
The rapid-fire goals fired up the Canucks, who were unlucky not to build their lead three minutes later when Mason Raymond was robbed at the far post by Irving.
But 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, 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.
Schroeder then doubled his career goals total at 15:41, chipping in the rebound from Raymond’s shot to make it 5-1.
Canuck goalie Cory Schneider, getting consecutive starts for the first time in two weeks, was beaten only once – from close range by Lee Stepniak at 18:18 of the first period after Edler lost his stick and the puck behind the Vancouver net. Schneider finished with 33 saves.
The Canucks stage their annual Superskills competition on Sunday, and next play Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild.