Miller leads Canucks past Blues 3-1 for 9th straight at home

Sports

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — J.T. Miller scored twice in the second period to help the Vancouver Canucks rally from an early deficit to beat the St. Louis Blues 3-1 Monday night.

Bo Horvat also scored as the Canucks won their ninth straight at home, and 12 in the last 15 overall. Jake Virtanen and Chris Tanev each had two assists.

Thatcher Demko, making his second straight start, and fourth in the last 20 games, stopped 36 shots. He credited his teammates for the 23 shots they blocked.

“The amount of blocks we had were pretty crazy,” he said. “Those are man blocks. Guys are winding up with slap shots and one-timers and guys are going down.

“Huge kudos to those guys.”

Miller has 48 points (19 goals, 29 assists) in 50 games this season, topping the 47 points (13 goals, 34 assists) he had in 75 games with Tampa Bay last year.

Zach Sanford scored for the Blues, who have lost three straight (0-2-1). Jake Allen made 22 saves.

The Canucks remained first in the Pacific Division with 60 points, three more than Edmonton, Calgary, Arizona and Vegas.

The defending Stanley Cup champion Blues lead the Western Conference with 68 points.

With the Blues pushing for the tying goal in the third, Demko made a huge left pad save on Jaden Schwartz.

“I saw the play was kind of developing,” Demko said. “I threw my left leg over. I got a piece of it. I wasn’t sure how much I got of it.”

He later blocked Sanford on the short side.

“Everyone had chances, everyone was cycling, everyone put up a solid effort,” the Blues’ Brayden Schenn said. “We had plenty of chances and at the end of the day their goalie played good and made some saves.”

Ten of Vancouver’s blocked shots came in the third period.

“Everybody was throwing their bodies in front of pucks,” Horvat said. “There were so many guys sacrificing third bodies and that’s what we need going forward.”

Miller’s first goal tied the score 1-1 at 2:16 of the second. Virtanen won a puck battle along the boards, then passed to Tanev, who fed an open Miller in the slot for a low, hard shot.

Vancouver went ahead 2-1 at 11:12 on a 3-on-1 break. Elias Pettersson carried the puck into the St. Louis zone, passed it to Virtanen, who then sent it to Miller for a shot from the faceoff circle.

“I actually thought on the second one my stick was broken,” Miller said. “I didn’t want to push too hard and I actually fanned on it. I got a little lucky.”

The Blues took advantage of a turnover to open the scoring at 3:06 of the first after rookie defenseman Quinn Hughes coughed up the puck in his own zone. David Perron took it, swooped behind the net, then passed to Sanford who scored his fifth of the season.

Vancouver had a couple of good chances to tie it. Horvat forced a turnover, then had a breakaway but was stopped by Allen. Virtanen had the crowd buzzing after ringing a shot off the post.

NOTES: The Rogers Arena crowd gave a standing ovation and players banged their sticks on the ice during a play stoppage in the first period to honor former NBA star Kobe Bryant who died along with eight others in a helicopter crash Sunday. … The Canucks’ Antoine Roussel played in his 500th NHL game. … There were 18 scouts in attendance. … With Hughes appearing in the NHL All-Star Game, the Canucks become the first team in the expansion era to have a rookie in three consecutive All-Star Games. … D Colton Parayko returned to the St. Louis lineup after missing seven games with an upper-body injury. … The Blues announced Monday they have waived F Troy Brouwer, who had one goal in 10 games.

UP NEXT

Blues: At Calgary on Tuesday night.

Canucks: At San Jose on Wednesday night to open a five-game trip.

___

More AP NHL: www.apnews.com/NHL and www.twitter.com/AP_Sports

Please follow and like us: