The way Jordan Schroeder has been playing, you knew it was only a matter of time before the rookie scored his first career goal. On Saturday night, Schroeder did just that in the second period against the Flames to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead.
With the Canucks on the power play, and the game tied at one goal a piece with 11 minutes left in the second period, Alex Edler found Schroeder hovering in front of the net and fired in the pass. Schroeder was able to handle the pass and tip it in to give the Canucks the lead. Schroeder became the 31st player in NHL history to score his first career goal on the power play.
The kid wasn't satisfied with just one goal however. With less than five minutes remaining and the Canucks already leading 4-1, Mason Raymond unleashed a vicious slap shot that deflected back out to Schroeder, who had positioned himself perfectly for the rebound goal to put the icing on the cake.
One thing has become clear in the early part of the season. This Schroeder fellow is the real deal, and deserves a chance to remain with the Canucks even after Ryan Kesler and David Booth return to the lineup. There's no question of his talent level, but there is a question of what his role will be when Kesler and Booth are back.
Alain Vigneault likes Schroeder on the power play, and gives him plenty of ice time when the Canucks have extra attackers. Tonight, Schroeder played 4:51 on the power play, the most on the team. So maybe he gets demoted to a lower line while maintaing his role as a key attacker on the power play. Tonight though, Schroeder earned his stripes, outscoring the Flames single handedly.
Often in sports, there are diamonds in the rough that just need the chance to emerge and prove they belong. The injuries the Canucks have dealt with so far have been a blessing in disguise in a sense. During the first few games, it seemed as if the absence of Kesler and Booth could have been a major headache for Vancouver. Instead, we have seen the emergence of Schroeder as a quality all-around forward who fits in nicely with the Canucks.
The team seems to be doing just fine as well. Saturday's win over the Flames was the fifth consecutive for the Canucks, who now sit comfortably on top of the Northwest Division with 16 points and a 7-2-2 record. Vancouver has outscored their opponents 9-2 in the last two games, and will face Minnesota on Tuesday night as they look to extend their hot streak.