Ryan Miller got off to a great start with his new team, the Vancouver Canucks.
Or so the story went.
In reality, Miller’s gaudy win-loss record at the beginning of the season was just as much, if not more, a reflection of his teammates’ ability to score goals versus his ability to deny them.
But the 34-year-old has been earning his big contract lately. In his last 10 starts, he’s allowed just 14 goals, with a save percentage of .955 over that stretch. The Canucks won seven of those starts, including four victories when they scored three or fewer goals.
Not surprisingly, Miller’s save percentage has improved dramatically, up to .919, one point shy of the likes of Henrik Lundqvist, Corey Crawford, Jimmy Howard, and Cory Schneider, who are all tied at .920.
“I’ve had a nice long stretch with [the Canucks], a half a season,” Miller said recently, per The Province. “Now, we’re getting to the point where we know each other a lot better.”
Last night in Florida, Miller fell just 2:32 of notching his third straight shutout in a 2-1 victory over the Panthers.
There’s a good chance he’ll start again tonight in Tampa Bay, after which the Canucks will enter the All-Star break. Sans goalie controversy.
Related: Why sign Miller? Benning wanted ‘a goalie with experience’
On a night when the San Jose Sharks needed a win to keep pace with their division rivals, Devils goaltender Cory Schneider to hand New Jersey a 5-2 victory.
Schneider turned aside 34 of 36 shots, including 18 in the third period to earn his 16th victory of the season. Although the Devils ended up winning this one by a comfortable margin, Schneider had to defend in what was a tight contest for most of the night.
He was beaten early in the contest by Joe Pavelski as San Jose got on board first:
The Devils bounced back late in the period from a pair of unlikely sources though as Jordin Tootoo and Steve Bernier each found the back of the net. Sharks forward Matt Nieto tied the game early in the second frame before Mike Cammalleri netted what proved to be the game-winning goal:
Scott Gomez ended up with two assists against his former team, giving him 16 points in 23 games with New Jersey in 2014-15. Devils forward Jacob Josefson was playing for the first time since Dec. 27 and he only got 10:42 minutes on the ice, but he made the most of it with an assist and a shorthanded marker.
With this loss and Vancouver’s victory over Florida, San Jose has conceded second place in the Pacific Division. The Sharks also saw their edge on Calgary and Los Angeles shrink as the Flames earned a 2-1 overtime win against the Kings.
All the latest from the blue paint…
Dubnyk looks to stay perfect
The Minnesota Wild will stick with Devan Dubnyk when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at Xcel.
Dubnyk, who won his first two stars for the Wild since coming over in a trade from Arizona, began his time in Minnesota by shutting out Buffalo, then stopped 25 of 26 shots in a 3-1 win over his old Coyotes teammates Saturday.
With that win, Dubnyk continued what’s been a stellar bounce-back season and now sits at 11-5-2 on the year, with a 2.49 GAA and .921 save percentage.
For Columbus, Sergei Bobrovsky will start in goal.
‘Canes at Leafs: Anton Khudobin vs. Jonathan Bernier
Canucks at Panthers: Ryan Miller likely for Vancouver, Roberto Luongo likely for Florida.
Avs at Blues: Semyon Varlamov vs. Brian Elliott
Flames at Kings: Joni Ortio for Calgary, Jonathan Quick likely for L.A.
Devils at Sharks: Cory Schneider for New Jersey, Alex Stalock likely for San Jose.