After spending 11 years in Buffalo, goaltender Ryan Miller came over to St. Louis in a trade mid-season last year and didn’t play against the Sabres when the Blues faced them later in the season. This was Miller’s first start against a former team and he called it interesting. A matchup he was looking forward to.
“I’ve never done that before. I’ve never had a chance to play against a former team like that,” said Miller. “A lot of good guys on the [Blues]; it was one that I was actually really looking forward to, especially here in St. Louis. It was fun.”
Miller stopped 31 shots for his new team as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Blues 4-1.
Chris Higgins scored 41 seconds into the game to give Vancouver the early lead, and Kevin Shatterkirk tied it in the second on a powerplay goal. The game was close and the Blues had a great opportunity to grab the lead early in the third, but Miller came up big.
He got the left pad out on a tough shot from the right circle from Blues center Jori Lehtera. That sent Nick Bonino going the other way on a 3 on 1 and he beat Blues goalie Jake Allen with a wrist shot from the left circle at 4:54 of the third period.
The Canucks scored three third-period goals on four shots. Linden Vey scored from the slot at 11:57 for a 3-1 Vancouver lead, and Jannik Hansen scored an empty-net goal to seal the game for the Canucks.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock is not happy with the number of turnovers in the neutral zone.
“We’ve made a heck of a run here playing the right way; no odd-man rushes, no forced offense, don’t give the puck away and make hope-for plays offensively. We’ve had a shoot-first mentality that’s allowed us to be top-five in the League in scoring goals, but we don’t want to play the right way. We want to play a different game right now, so until we buy into that, we’re going to have some rough water we’re going to have to go through, and that’s what we’re in right now. We’re in rough water.”