Miller perfect again in Canucks’ win over Jackets
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ryan Miller faced plenty of good chances from the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Vancouver Canucks goalie stopped them all.
Miller made 31 saves for his second consecutive shutout, his third of the season and 32nd of his career, and the streaking Canucks topped the struggling Blue Jackets 5-0 on Friday night.
Columbus couldn’t muster anything against Miller, who extended his scoreless run to 152 minutes, 5 seconds. The Canucks are tied for first in the Western Conference with 33 points, propelled by a 6-1-1 run.
Miller is tied for the NHL lead with 15 wins.
“I feel all right,” Miller said. “I feel like I’m still building the right kind of game to play with this team. Just keep going, keep improving.”
Chris Higgins and Brad Richardson both had a goal and an assist for Vancouver, which played the first game of a season-high, seven-game, 12-day road trip.
The Canucks’ balanced, four-line attack started producing late in the second period and then broke out in the third. Henrik Sedin, Shawn Matthias and Alexandre Burrows also scored, and Nick Bonino added three assists.
“It’s harder to shut us down when everybody is scoring,” rookie Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins said.
Columbus has lost five in a row and has dropped to the bottom of the NHL standings with a 2-12-2 slide. Sergei Bobrovsky allowed four goals on 29 shots.
Higgins found space down the left wing, patiently holding the puck before snapping a shot from below the circle, almost to the goal line and inside the near post for his fifth goal at 15:25 of the second.
“It just seems like we don’t have enough confidence,” Columbus forward Nick Foligno said. “It sounds stupid but it’s kind of the thing I noticed the most.
“When we get scored on it just deflates us. It’s just a mental toughness that we need to have and we just don’t have it right now.”
Just 48 seconds into the third, Radim Vrbata threw the puck back toward to the near post where Sedin was waiting for the easy goal.
“It was nice,” Sedin said of the play leading to his sixth goal. ”(Radim) waited a long time. I thought it might be too late. But nice pass, I had an empty netter. That was a big one for us.”
The Canucks poured it on from there, adding three more goals in just under six minutes after Miller made a nice glove save on Foligno’s drive from the slot.
“I thought they had the best chances in the first and most of the second,” Desjardins said of the Blue Jackets. “We were lucky. I thought Ryan Miller played real well. I thought that was the difference.”
Matthias took a bouncing puck, and on a breakaway snapped a shot past Bobrovsky for his fourth at 11:49.
Bobrovsky was pulled for an extra skater with just over five minutes remaining, and Richardson scored right away from inside the blue line for his fourth to make it 4-0.
With Bobrovsky back in the net, Burrows scored from the left circle at 17:26 for his eighth to cap the scoring.
“I thought in the third period we were really efficient with the puck — made some nice plays,” Desjardins said.
NOTES: Vancouver is 14-1-2 in its last 17 games in Columbus but had lost three of four there. ...The Blue Jackets play Saturday at Nashville, which is 9-1-1 at home. ... Miller hasn’t allowed a goal since 7:55 of the second period in a 4-1 win over Chicago on Nov. 23, a span of three games. ... Columbus dropped to 3-8-1 at home.