It was quite a strange night for Vancouver Canucks goalie Ryan Miller last night. Miller played against his former team the St. Louis Blues, Thursday night and claimed a 4-1 road victory for his new team.
Miller made 31 saves on the night, including stoning Blues forward Lehtera with an amazing pad save late in the third period.
Plenty of Positives
There were plenty of positives for Canucks head Coach Willie Desjardin to take away from this game. First, the win snaps the team's two game losing streak. Second, the Canucks' new recruits continue to contribute points.
Nick Bonino and Linden Vey both scored goals and used their size to their advantage. They protected the puck really well and fought off the Blues defense to get into the shooting lanes. Veteran forward Radim Vrbata continues to accumulate assists and help the Sedins accumulate points as well.
But what was even more encouraging was that the Canucks defensemen were jumping into the play more. Both Alexander Edler and Kevin Bieska hit the post last night and had a total of six shots blocked.
This barrage of shots is what helped open up the Blues defense and led to some pretty decent scoring chances. If the defensemen continue peppering their opponents with shots, it will lead to more wins for the Canucks. I really hope Dan Hamhuis will start shooting the puck more.
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Things are looking very good for the Canucks. The team is finding some secondary scoring options from guys that have struggled in past years. Forward Jannik Hansen is a perfect example of this. He wasn’t given much of a chance last year and as a result only had 20 points to his name.
This year he already has two goals and seems to be getting a lot more opportunities. He’ll easily get to 20 points or more this season if Desjardin continues to give him more ice time as the season progresses.
Overall, this was a very solid effort by the Canucks and a well deserved win. All the players that were expected to contribute did just that. Guys like Alexandre Burrows and Hansen used their speed to create chances and were rewarded for their efforts. The challenge for the Canucks will be building off this win and finding ways to win games consistently.
The Western conference teams are all extremely tough and the point standings are always very close. The Canucks are going to have to work very hard to compete with teams like the LA Kings, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks.
However, if Miller continues to perform like he did against the Blues, I’m confident the Canucks have enough depth and talent to challenge for a playoff spot.
I can’t wait to see how the Canucks do against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday.