Devils’ Cory Schneider continues to dominate Canucks

The New Jersey Devils scored three goals in the second period on their way to the win over the Vancouver Canucks.

NEWARK, N.J. – Daniel Sedin collected two points Friday night, and if he gets two more under similar circumstances Sunday, you will see the most joyless celebration of 1,000 points in National Hockey League history.

The goal and assist Sedin gathered against the New Jersey Devils hardly mattered because the Vancouver Canucks fell 3-2, losing whatever magic they had going when they opened their six-game road trip with 5-2 wins 24 hours apart against the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Actually, those points may be more meaningful in time if Daniel and Henrik Sedin retire after this season because Daniel generated them against an old friend and admirer, goalie Cory Schneider, who was traded to the Devils 4½ years ago and has been crushing the Canucks ever since.

The Canucks are happy with the trade, because it fetched Bo Horvat, who has become Vancouver’s top centre and scored his team’s other goal on Friday. They’re just not happy with it any time they play Schneider, who is now 6-1-2 against them.

At least the Canucks scored on Friday – Sedin’s goal was a fluke – after Schneider made 37 saves during a 2-0 shutout win in Vancouver on Nov. 1. The goalie, whose move was the most stunning twist in the Roberto Luongo trade saga on the West Coast, had to make only 23 saves against the Canucks on Friday.

"I think early on (after the trade) there was some extra motivation," Schneider said. "With where we are now and where they’re at, some of that has been lost with a lot of guys moving on. I don’t know if we match up well against them or I just happen to be hot or play well against them, but they’re a fun team to play against. They shoot a lot of pucks and, maybe, I’m a little more familiar with the twins. I seem to get up a little more for these guys."

By allowing two goals, Schneider’s anti-Canuck numbers actually diminished. Before Friday, he was carrying a 1.73 goals-against average and .940 save percentage against his old team.

Even Canucks super rookie Brock Boeser was unable to score against Schneider – and Boeser scores against everyone.

Boeser’s four-game goal streak ended, although the 20-year-old picked up a second assist on Horvat’s power-play goal that halved the Devils’ two-goal lead at 10:37 of the third period and made the final nine minutes interesting.

"We should have beaten him more than once, but that’s the way it is," Henrik Sedin said of Schneider. "He’s a good goalie. He suits their system. I always saw him as a No. 1 for sure, even when we had Lou and they were battling to be No. 1. I always knew Cory would be an elite goaltender."

It was not lost on Schneider that this may have been his last time facing the Sedins, who are 37 and have not decided if they’ll play beyond this season, which has seen their roles reduced.

"To this day – I’m in my 11th year pro, which is hard to believe – when I think of a consummate professional, I think of Henrik and Daniel," Schneider said. "Coming into the league, it was different than it is now. Seven or eight years ago, you just watched and learned. You didn’t say a whole lot, didn’t do too much and had to earn your way. Those two guys were the best examples of that.

"They were the first guys in the gym, they were the hardest working. They spoke up when they needed to and they took accountability. But they never asked for anything in return. The way they went about their business was crucial to my development."

Schneider said the Sedins should finish in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"He thinks we’re good guys, but I don’t know that that makes us Hall of Famers," Henrik, who has 1,031 points after an assist on Daniel’s bank-shot goal in the second period, said with a smile when told of Schneider’s remark. "I always enjoyed playing with Schneids. He’s just one of those guys you respect. He comes in and works hard and he just wants to get better. That’s been him from Day 1."

That sounds a lot like the Sedins.

The Canucks needed to work smarter in the second period, when the Devils scored three times on Vancouver mistakes.

Taylor Hall found space between Canucks’ Derrick Pouliot and Sam Gagner to shoot from the slot over goalie Jacob Markstrom’s shoulder.

Devils’ defenceman Will Butcher was allowed to streak unimpeded up ice and embarrass Canuck blueliner Ben Hutton one-on-one before dishing to Brian Boyle for New Jersey’s second goal.

And Damon Severson poked a rebound from the post into an unguarded net for the winning goal after Sven Baertschi’s giveaway at the end of a Canucks power play set up a breakaway for Hall.

"I liked how we pushed in the third," Canuck coach Travis Green said. "I wasn’t crazy about some of our little details in the second period. When you play a game like this where both teams play a structured game, those little details are usually the thing that separates who wins and loses."

A goalie may have something to do with it, too.

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