Hansen, Miller lift Canucks over Avalanche 5-1
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) The winning goalie in a blowout isn't usually the game's first star. And yet, there was little doubt Ryan Miller deserved the honor on Sunday night.
The veteran netminder made 37 saves, including a number of big ones early, to help the Vancouver Canucks cruise 5-1 over the Colorado Avalanche and snap a four-game losing streak.
Jannik Hansen had two goals and Adam Cracknell, Radim Vrbata and Christopher Tanev also scored for Vancouver. Henrik Sedin had four assists and Daniel Sedin had three assists.
The Canucks were 0-5-1 over their last six at Rogers Arena.
''It was good to get some separation, let the guys feel good about themselves,'' Miller said. ''In spite of how the games have been going there's been some hard work.''
Matt Duchene scored Colorado's only goal with 41.8 seconds left.
''Millsy was enormous,'' Henrik Sedin said. ''It's too bad to see the last one go in. He deserved the shutout, but we'll take the win and move on.''
Semyon Varlamov stopped 23 shots, and the Avalanche ended a two-game winning streak. Colorado occupies the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
The Avalanche won 3-2 Saturday night at Edmonton, but trailed 3-0 after two periods in this one. It might've been closer if not for Miller's stellar play.
Colorado had a couple good chances before the Canucks grabbed the lead at 8:31 of the opening period. Cracknell ended a 28-game scoreless streak Friday night and scored again in this one when he stopped Emerson Etem's shot in front and shoveled home his fifth of the season.
Vrbata rang a shot off the post behind Varlamov that stayed out before Miller made a pad save on Carl Soderberg for his biggest stop of the period.
''I want to help the boys out,'' Miller said. ''With that one I was able to keep some momentum.''
Hansen made it 2-0 with 1:14 left in the first when he buried Daniel Sedin's pass from behind the net for his 18th for Vancouver, which sits seven points back of Nashville for the West's second wild-card spot.
Miller was strong again in the second, stopping Soderberg on a short-handed breakaway and snagging Jarome Iginla's one-timer on the power play.
The Vancouver goalie was fortunate when Francois Beauchemin's shot hit the crossbar and stayed out midway through the second.
Cracknell appeared to score his second of the night at 12:17, but it was ruled after video review that he directed the puck in with his glove.
Miller stopped Erik Johnson with a brilliant toe save on a 3-on-2 to keep his team up by two and set the stage for Vrbata's power-play goal with 4.4 seconds left in the second. The veteran forward had not scored in 14 games and had just one over his previous 24, but poked a rebound past Varlamov for his 12th.
''After the second period I said `I don't have much to say. You guys are playing a good game,''' Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. ''When a goalie plays like (Miller) did, it's hard to come back.''
Colorado's Blake Comeau hit the post early in the third period, and Hansen scored his second of the night and 19th of the season at 9:09 when he redirected Daniel Sedin's pass on a 2-on-1.
Avalanche coach Patrick Roy pulled Varlamov for an extra attacker with more than 10 minutes left in regulation, but Tanev scored his fourth into the empty net at 11:37 to seal it.
Duchene broke Miller's shut-out bid with 41.8 seconds left to round out the scoring with his 26th.
NOTES: Vrbata and Derek Dorsett left in the third period for Vancouver and did not return. ... The Avalanche acquired former Canucks forward Shawn Matthias from Toronto in a trade Sunday for a 2016 fourth-round pick and prospect Colin Smith. Matthias is expected to join the team later this week.