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Schneider, Cammalleri lead Devils past Canucks

by Kevin Woodley /

VANCOUVER -- New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider downplayed the significance of his first win back at Rogers Arena since being traded away by the Vancouver Canucks in 2013.

Schneider brushed aside the significance of winning in Vancouver a couple of times. It was more important to finish a quick road trip on a positive note.

But he finally conceded it might mean a little more against the team that picked him 24th at the 2004 NHL Draft.

Schneider made 36 saves and Mike Cammalleri had a goal and two assists to help the Devils to a 3-2 victory against the Canucks on Sunday.

"It still feels like a second home," said Schneider, who lost in his first two return trips. "It feels very natural to be back here, but at the same time it also feels good to win here and to beat them."

Cammalleri, who played a big role in the win, knew it was going to be an important night for his goaltender.

"I got a pretty good sense of it when we went for lunch the other day and we were calling him the mayor because he was getting cat calls from the whole city, everywhere we went," Cammalleri said. "It seems he was quite appreciated here, so tremendous effort from him."

It was a big game for Camallerri too. He opened the scoring 65 seconds into the second period, set up Andy Greene's unlikely power-play goal 91 seconds into the third and assisted on Adam Henrique's goal eight minutes later for the Devils (11-8-1), who finished their three-game Western Canadian road trip.

"It was important tonight we played to our identity and we were happy with our compete level and commitment and work ethic, regardless of the result," Cammalleri said. "When you do that, you have a better chance of having a good result. We didn't like it the first couple games of this road trip. … If this group doesn't have that, we don't have a chance."

They might not have had a chance without Schneider.

He made 17 saves in the third period, including a Radim Vrbata penalty shot at 5:14, but saved his best for the Sedin twins, who combined for nine points in a 6-3 win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday. Schneider denied Daniel Sedin several times on a Canucks power play that was 1-for-7, getting his blocker on a couple of one-touch shots from the slot off slap passes from Henrik Sedin, and sliding left to right to deny Daniel Sedin on a rebound chance.

The slap pass redirect was a play Schneider knew well from three seasons in Vancouver.

"Henrik is such a good distributor on the wall and I've learned that even when the puck is in the middle they might go to one side or the other and not necessarily just throw it at the net," Schneider said. "I just tried to hold my ground all night, tried to keep my feet as long as I could and just make sure they weren't sliding pucks past me or behind me to other guys."

Henrik Sedin ended Schneider's shutout bid with a shorthanded goal 7:21 into the third period after the Devils goalie misplayed the puck to Daniel Sedin in front of the net, and Vrbata scored a power-play goal on a deflection with 0.6 seconds left, but it wasn't enough.

"I thought we carried play for the last half of the game," Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said. "Carrying it doesn't win. You have to find ways to win."

Jacob Markstrom made 19 saves for the Canucks (8-8-6), who ended a four-game losing streak against Chicago the night before but have one win in their past six games (1-4-1).

"It comes down to timely saves and timely goals," Markstrom said. "Schneider made some great saves in the third and I let in some goals when I need to step up and make a save in the third to not go down two goals. That doesn't feel too good right now."

Schneider was traded to New Jersey for the ninth pick at the 2013 NHL Draft, which was used to select Bo Horvat. The 20-year-old center almost pulled the Canucks within a goal late with a nice pass that left the Devils goalie diving headfirst to stop Alexandre Burrows.

"He was a big reason why we were able to keep the puck out of the net," Devils coach John Hynes said. "Vancouver was a special place for him. To be able to play in this build was nice for him and I think it was special for him."

Cammalleri opened the scoring after being knocked down in a scramble around the Canucks net early in the second period, but got back up and was all alone atop the crease when Kyle Palmieri knocked to him from the side of the net. Cammalleri waited patiently for Markstrom to kick his leg up, anticipating a high shot, so he could slide it in along the ice.

Greene, who is known more for his defensive play, was inserted on the power play after it gave up a couple chances and scored on a deflected point shot early in the third period after a screened Markstrom got caught moving right anticipating a pass.

"We thought Greenie, if he shot it 38 miles an hour with a change up like that, it would really mess them up. So that was a special play we saved for him," Cammalleri said.

Henrik Sedin ended the shutout after Schneider's errant pass went to Daniel Sedin with the Devils on a power play, but Henrique restored the two-goal lead 2:04 later.

"Just a soft play by me and it was disappointing to give that one up, but Adam scored a big goal to make it 3-1 and bail me out," Schneider said. "We've been picking each other up all year."

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