Miller wins 300th, Canucks beat hapless Hurricanes
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) The Vancouver Canucks made Ryan Miller's 300th career victory look easy.
Miller made 29 saves, Brad Richardson scored twice and the Canucks beat the winless Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 on Tuesday night.
''It means I have been playing a while,'' Miller said. ''It feels good. It's a collection of a lot of good teams, a lot of good players over the years. I'll take a little moment to reflect. It's been a lot of fun. Just winning's fun and I've gotten to do it quite a bit with some good guys. So I'll try and enjoy this.''
Linden Vey and Jannik Hansen also scored to help the Canucks (6-3-0) win for the third time in four games. Henrik Sedin and Radim Vrbata extended their point streaks to five games.
''Our guys were skating and pressuring the first option,'' Miller said. ''I could sit back and make reads. It makes the game a lot easier.''
Richardson scored his second goal of the game - and the season - into an empty net in the final minute.
''It was nice to get the zero off the board there,'' he said. ''You get to that 10-game mark, you don't want to be sitting there with zeros.''
The Hurricanes (0-6-2) are the only NHL team without a victory this season. Carolina is winless in seven games at Vancouver since October 1999.
Jiri Tlusty scored for the Hurricanes on an assist from captain Eric Staal, who returned after missing five games with an upper-body injury.
Staal's effect on Carolina's offense was limited, though, as the Hurricanes were forced to try and play catch-up early without much success.
''We just didn't play heavy and strong enough to be able to break pucks out and go the other way,'' Staal said. ''We just weren't good enough.''
Carolina goalie Cam Ward took the loss although his club outshot the Canucks 30-25. Vancouver went 1 for 3 on the power play, while the Hurricanes were blanked on the same number of man-advantage opportunities.
Richardson opened the scoring 1:32 into an otherwise uneventful first period as he broke down the right wing, cut toward the net and lifted a quick wrist shot over Ward's glove.
The third-line center stood out after coach Willie Desjardins told his unit, which included Zack Kassian and Shawn Matthias, to get more physical. Richardson, however, was not impressed with his club's overall effort.
''It wasn't our best game, to be honest,'' he said. ''It was a little bit sleepy a lot of the time, but we scored timely goals and we won the game, so that's the big thing.''
Vey put the Canucks ahead 2-0 on a power play 50 seconds into the second. Playing the point, he skated in and converted Vrbata's pass from the side of the net. The goal came after Daniel Sedin, standing alone in the slot, missed Vrbata's pass but the puck continued to Vey.
The power play had extended from late in the first period, when Carolina defenseman Ryan Murphy was penalized for cross-checking Daniel Sedin.
Hansen increased Vancouver's lead to 3-0 at 18:39 of the second on a midair deflection of Yanick Weber's point shot. Weber's assist came after he kept an errant puck right on the blue line and then flung it toward the net, denying Carolina's Jeff Skinner a clear breakaway.
''They had a chance, we kept it in and we ended up scoring, so that was probably the difference in the game,'' Desjardins said.
Tlusty spoiled Miller's shutout bid at 11:05 of the third when he scored on a scramble with the Canucks' goalie well out of his net.
''He kept us in the game,'' Richardson said about Miller. ''They had some good chances. It's too bad we couldn't get him the shutout.''
NOTES: Hurricanes defensemen John-Michael Liles (illness) and Murphy (lower-body injury) returned to the lineup after missing the previous game in Edmonton. But winger Nathan Gerbe (lower body) missed his fourth game. ... Vancouver winger Tom Sestito was scratched for the ninth consecutive game to start the season. The teams play twice this season. They meet again Jan. 16 at Carolina.