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Goaltending will be key in turning Canucks’ objective of winning into a reality

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Ryan Miller didn’t allow a goal Saturday against the Calgary Flames.

He was on the bench when teammate Loui Eriksson inadvertently slid the puck into the Vancouver Canucks net while there was a delayed penalty against the Flames.

It was the only time Calgary scored in the game. The Canucks came back to win 2-1 in the shootout.

Despite the gaffe from his teammate, Miller stopped all 25 shots he faced. didn’t have him credited for the shut out as of the writing of this piece, although Sportsnet Stats says STATS LLC was giving Miller the shut out because that one Calgary goal, eventually given to Troy Brouwer, was into an empty net.

The Canucks’ 36-year-old goalie was solid, as he turned away Johnny Gaudreau in regulation and again in the shootout. He stopped all four Calgary attempts.

Not many are predicting the Canucks to be very good this season. In fact, USA Today had them projected to finish with a lousy 65 points, last in the league. Ouch.

But if the Canucks are serious about being a winning team this year, they’re going to need big things from Miller and Jacob Markstrom.

There are just too many question marks throughout their lineup.

What kind of offensive production from the 36-year-old twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin is realistic?

Eriksson was brought in to help boost Vancouver’s scoring and its power play, and the twins had a dynamic third-period shift that led to the tying goal Saturday. But how will they fare over the course of 82 games at their age?

Where are the goals going to come from once you get beyond the top line, or up-and-coming forwards like Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi, who were better in the second half of last season?

The defense should be of particular concern, especially when you get to the bottom pairing of Luca Sbisa and Philip Larsen or the No. 7 and No. 8 guys Nikita Tryamkin and Alex Biega.

The Canucks will take this one. They were able to spark a come-from-behind win against a Calgary team playing its third game in four nights and still searching for its first victory.

But if scoring is an issue like it was last season, the play of their goalies will be pivotal in turning playoff talk into a reality.


‘Make no mistake,’ Ryan Miller is still the No. 1 goalie in Vancouver

Panik scores the hat trick, leading the Blackhawks into the win column

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 25: Richard Panik #14 of the Chicago Blackhawks attempts to knock the puck down against the St. Louis Blues in Game Seven of the Western Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scottrade Center on April 25, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/ Getty Images)

CHICAGO (AP) Richard Panik scored three goals for his first NHL hat trick, Scott Darling was sharp in making 33 saves and the Chicago Blackhawks earned their first victory of the season, 5-3 over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.

Nick Schmaltz, one of four rookies in Chicago’s lineup, scored his first NHL goal and Brent Seabrook added a power-play score and an assist as the Blackhawks rebounded from a 3-2 loss at Nashville on Friday. Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith each had two assists.

Colin Wilson, Craig Smith and Viktor Arvidsson scored for the Predators.

Nashville trailed 3-0 after Schmaltz, Seabrook and Panik scored in a 3:43 span in the first period, and could never pull even in this one.

The Predators outshot Chicago 36-27 and dominated in stretches, but were stymied by Darling in the backup goalie’s first start this season.

Nashville backup Marek Mazanec had 22 saves after Pekka Rinne stopped 22 of 24 Friday.

The Blackhawks scored on three of their first five shots to take a 3-0 lead and led by two after the first period as Darling stopped 15 of 16 Nashville attempts, including several nifty saves on point-blank chances.

Schmaltz opened the scoring 6:36 in when he plowed to the net off the left boards and beat Mazanec on the short side with a rising shot.

Seabrook’s power-play goal 1:43 later – from a faceoff and just 6 seconds into the advantage – made it 2-0. His shot from the right point deflected in off the stick of Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm.

Panik extended it to 3-0 at 10:19 when he drove to the net against defenseman Matt Carle, pivoted in front and slid in a backhander.

Wilson cut it to 3-1 with 1:29 left in the first by poking in a rebound of James Neal‘s shot to complete a 3-on-1 break.

Darling came up with two of his best saves, close-in pad stops on Smith and Wilson seconds apart, with just over five minutes left in the second.

From a faceoff and 6 seconds into a power play, Smith cut it to 3-2 on shot from the right circle with 1:16 left in the period.

Set up by Marian Hossa‘s pinpoint pass, Panik tapped in his second goal, on a power-play at 4:56 of the second to make it 4-2. But Arvidsson drove to the net, outworked Chicago defenseman Brian Campbell at cut it to 4-3 at 10:06.

Panik iced it when he completed his hat trick with 1:31 left after he was set up at the side of the net by Kane.

Hutton ‘won us the game,’ but injuries a concern for Blues

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 01: Carter Hutton #40 of the St. Louis Blues stops a shot by Vincent Hinostroza #48 of the Chicago Blackhawks during a preseason game at the United Center on October 1, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The St. Louis Blues have started the season 3-0, as they held on to defeat the New York Rangers on Saturday.

Carter Hutton, brought in this summer to solidify the Blues’ goaltending duo along with Jake Allen, was busy, stopping 15 shots in the third period, while the Blues failed to register a shot in the final 20 minutes.

St. Louis, playing its third game in four nights, still managed a 3-2 victory. The Blues’ next game is against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday.

The win did come at a price.

As per Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, defenseman Carl Gunnarsson and forwards Jori Lehtera and Kyle Brodziak all left the game with upper-body injuries and didn’t return.

There was no update from coach Ken Hitchcock on any of those players following the game.

Updates for those three players are expected Monday.

The coach did praise the play of Hutton, who made 33 saves in his first start of the season for his new team.

“The goalie was outstanding in the third period,” said Hitchcock.

“He won us the game, which was great. We needed it. Whether it was three in four nights or the injuries or whatever that depleted us, we needed our goalie in the third period and he came through for us.”

Staal and Stewart run Wild over the Jets

ST PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 15: Eric Staal #12 of the Minnesota Wild controls the puck against Mark Scheifele #55 of the Winnipeg Jets during the third period of the game on October 15, 2016 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. The Wild defeated the Jets 4-3. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Eric Staal and Chris Stewart each got their first goal with Minnesota since being acquired in the offseason, helping the Wild overcome a two-goal deficit to beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 on Saturday night.

Stewart scored to start the comeback and assisted on Matt Dumba‘s power-play goal that tied it, then Staal made it 3-2 as the Wild erased the 2-0 deficit with a three-goal second period.

Devan Dubnyk made 14 saves for Minnesota, which is now 14-0-2 in its home openers at the Xcel Energy Center. Jonas Brodin added a goal for the Wild.

Nikolaj Ehlers, Blake Wheeler and Mark Schiefele scored for Winnipeg. Michael Hutchinson stopped 27 shots for the Jets.

Minnesota dropped its opener under new coach Bruce Boudreau at St. Louis on Thursday and was booed off the home ice following the first period Saturday after Wheeler tipped home a shot from Dustin Byfuglien with 2.6 seconds left.

The Wild came out stronger in the second and outshot Winnipeg 12-2 in the period.

Stewart was known for his energy when he arrived in Minnesota via trade in 2015 and helped the Wild to the Western Conference semifinals. Stewart played 56 games for Boudreau in Anaheim last season, scoring eight goals with 12 assists.

The big forward’s shot from left of the crease deflected off Ehlers’ skate and crossed the line before Hutchinson swiped the puck away. After a quick review, the officials’ call stood as a good goal.

Schiefele’s goal with 18.7 seconds left stood after a video review determined Mathieu Perrault didn’t cause goaltender interference after crashing into Dubnyk.

Video: Eriksson scores into his own net for Brett Kulak’s first career NHL goal (Update: It’s now Brouwer’s goal)


Loui Eriksson, making his debut for the Vancouver Canucks, put the puck in the net Saturday.

There was only one problem: It was the wrong net.

Eriksson, who signed a six-year, $36 million deal with Vancouver when free agency opened and is expected to help with the Canucks scoring woes, accidentally scored into his own net when he slid the puck back into his own end on a delayed penalty call against the Calgary Flames.

With the delayed penalty, the Canucks had pulled Ryan Miller for the extra attacker.

It was a seemingly harmless play. The Canucks were changing as Eriksson circled with the puck in the neutral zone.

But there was no one in a Canucks jersey ready for the pass when he threw it back to his defense, and the puck slid into the net despite Erik Gudbranson‘s diving attempt to keep it out.

That is so Canucks.

Calgary defenseman Brett Kulak, who played his junior hockey in Vancouver, was initially credited with the goal — what would’ve been the first of his NHL career.

Update: During the intermission, the NHL changed it to Troy Brouwer‘s goal.