Mikael Samuelsson certainly knew he scored two goals in a key win for the Vancouver Canucks. What the veteran forward didn’t know was that he had reached a personal milestone in the process.
It was an important triumph for Vancouver, a 4-2 home win over an equally hot Calgary Flames club looking to secure a playoff berth in the wildly tight Western Conference.
Samuelsson’s scored twice in a 2:40 span midway through the second period, earning him first star honours while maintaining his status as one of the team’s hottest scorers.
The tallies also gave the veteran forward 300 points for his NHL career.
“Really?” said Samuelsson, who recently took time out to speak with NHLPA.com in the midst of a Vancouver road trip. “This is the first time I learned about this. I had no idea until right now.”
And that, for those who don’t know much about the 34-year-old, is a perfect illustration of Samuelsson, a player who didn’t quite have lofty expectations, at least in the early stages, when it came to his NHL career.
Samuelsson began his career in Sweden, starting with Södertälje SK as a junior in 1994. He went on to play for Swedish teams IK Nyköping, Frölunda HC and Brynäs IF, was selected 145th overall in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks and launched his NHL career in 2000–01.
“It’s kind of funny,” said Samuelsson, who was born in Mariefred, Sweden, a town 65 kilometres (40 miles) from Stockholm. “At first, I was hoping I could play in one game and then I could say I played in the NHL. But after you get going, you start to see things differently. You play one year and then you start to think, ‘I’d like three years, four years and so on.’ I never started out thinking I’d be in the league for as long as I have. But it’s been good.”
Better than good, most would say.