Two periods of “clean” and “calm” goaltending have earned Ryan Miller the start for the Vancouver Canucks when they try to stave off elimination tonight against the Flames.
Miller replaced Eddie Lack Tuesday, stopping all 15 shots he faced in the 3-1 loss.
“He’s been in big games before, but the biggest thing is how he played in Calgary. I thought he looked really sharp,” Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said this morning.
“He just made some clean saves. They had some good chances. We were pressing, so we gave up some clear-cut chances, and I thought he was really clean on quite a few of his saves. And he looked calm, too.”
The risk is that Miller has only played five periods of hockey since getting hurt in February. The 34-year-old conceded yesterday that he was still recovering from the sprained knee he suffered on Long Island two months ago.
And certainly Lack has not been the reason Vancouver finds itself trailing the series 3-1. Only one of the three goals he surrendered in Game 4 — the third one, by Sam Bennett — could be categorized as bad.
Desjardins said it wasn’t an easy decision.
“Eddie’s played really great for us,” he said. “He did a great job down the stretch.”
But now it’s up to Miller, the free agent the Canucks signed to a three-year, $18 million contract this past summer.
“I think playoffs always comes down to goaltending,” said Desjardins. “If you get great goaltending, you always have a chance.”