Ryan Miller

Goalie Nods: Miller returns, Pavelec gets break after three straight shutouts

News and notes from around the crease…

Ryan Miller will start for the first time since Feb. 22

Miller suffered a knee injury that has cost him more than a month of ice time and potentially his opportunity to lead the Canucks in the playoffs. That’s because Eddie Lack was great in Miller’s absence and has been solid for the bulk of the campaign. Lack did admittedly get off to a rocky start, but he quickly put that behind him and now has a 2.45 GAA and .921 save percentage in 41 contests.

Those numbers are superior to Miller’s 2014-15 statistics, but Vancouver still might need him during the playoffs. With that in mind, he’ll have an opportunity to shake off the rust in tonight’s game against Edmonton.

Ondrej Pavelec will be a healthy scratch despite three straight shutouts

At any other point in the season, Pavelec being benched, let alone scratched, after posting three consecutive shutouts would be a big controversy, but with the Winnipeg Jets’ playoff position secure, this isn’t a shocking development. By starting Michael Hutchinson against the Calgary Flames this afternoon, it gives him a chance to stay sharp ahead of the postseason while also allowing Pavelec to get a breather after playing in three games over four days.

Connor Hellebuyck, 21, is projected to serve as the backup goaltender for Winnipeg today.

Elsewhere…

Sharks at Kings: Alex Stalock will play between the pipes for San Jose. It’s not known who will play for Los Angeles, but Jonathan Quick is typically a good bet.

Wild at Blues: Devan Dubnyk vs. Brian Elliott

Pens at Sabres: Marc-Andre Fleury will start for Pittsburgh. There’s a fair chance Anders Lindback will play for the Sabres, but that isn’t confirmed.

Habs at Leafs: Carey Price vs. Jonathan Bernier

Devils at Panthers: Cory Schneider vs. Al Montoya

Blue Jackets at Islanders: No confirmed starters yet for this one, but Islanders goaltender Michal Neuvirth has an undisclosed injury and Kevin Poulin was recalled as a result.

Red Wings at Canes: Petr Mrazek vs. Cam Ward

Bruins at Lightning: Tuukka Rask will probably start for Boston; Ben Bishop will get the nod for Tampa Bay.

Preds at Stars: Carter Hutton vs. Jhonas Enroth

Hawks at Avs: Scott Darling vs. Semyon Varlamov

Ducks at Coyotes: Neither team has revealed its starter.

Read between the lines: Ryan Miller expected to start for Canucks in season finale

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It’s possible by the time the puck drops between the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers on Saturday evening, the Canucks will have already secured home ice advantage for its first round series.

That depends on how the Calgary Flames do in their regular season finale earlier in the day.

The Canucks and Flames will meet in the opening round, however where that series starts has yet to be determined. It all gets figured out on Saturday.

Calgary plays the Winnipeg Jets in the afternoon. A Flames win would then force the Canucks to earn at least a single point against the Oilers in order to clinch home ice advantage.

So, that late game between the Canucks and Oilers could end up being completely meaningless, or there could be something on the line for Vancouver.

Based on the comments of Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins following his team’s win over Arizona on Thursday, it sounds like Ryan Miller will start in net, no matter the situation.

Miller, in the first year of a three-year, $18 million deal, hasn’t played since Feb. 22 due to injury. The Canucks may need a strong performance — from someone who hasn’t started in almost two months — to ensure they begin their series with the Flames at Rogers Arena.

Miller backed up Eddie Lack against the Coyotes, with the Canucks sending Jacob Markstrom back to the AHL earlier in the day.

And there is only one chance remaining to get Miller into game action before the post-season begins.

“You have to have two goalies going into the playoffs. You have to have two guys,” said Desjardins.

“It would be tough for Ryan to end up playing in a playoff game (when) he hasn’t played in for however long. Eddie’s played great. He doesn’t have anything else he needs to prove right now. He’s played really well, but we need both goalies ready to play.”

Miller to back up Lack tonight versus Coyotes

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Ryan Miller will be back in a Canucks uniform tonight when he backs up Eddie Lack versus the Coyotes.

Miller has not been in the lineup since suffering a sprained knee Feb. 22 on Long Island. It’s possible he could start Saturday versus Edmonton, allowing him to get some game action before the playoffs begin, while also giving Lack a rest.

Lack remains likely to start Game 1 of the playoffs next week, though coach Willie Desjardins has not publicly committed to either netminder.

Vancouver has already clinched a playoff spot and could, depending also on what happens in the Flames-Kings game, clinch second-place in the Pacific Division tonight.

The Canucks have sent Jacob Markstrom back to the AHL.

Remembering Bruins doing their part for ‘Boston Strong’

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About two years ago, lives were lost and plenty others were shaken by the Boston Marathon Bombings. Eventually, people tried to return to some form of normalcy, which added special meaning to some Boston Bruins games.

Watch the video below for some emotional memories of that time in April 2013, including reflections from former Buffalo Sabres Ryan Miller and Steve Ott (who played for the road team on one especially memorable evening).

Willie being Willie? Desjardins won’t commit to Lack as playoff starter

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Vancouver head coach Willie Desjardins — who, it has to be said, treats lineup decisions like top-secret nuclear codes — played it coy on Wednesday, refusing to reveal who’d be his starting netminder when the Canucks open the playoffs next week.

To most, the decision is simple and logical — Eddie Lack should open as the No. 1. The lanky Swede has been Vancouver’s goalie of record in 19 of 21 games since Ryan Miller went down to injury in late February, going 11-6-2 while backstopping Vancouver to the playoffs after a one-year absence. Lack has played well, played often and justifiably earned the gig.

But there are some things to consider with Miller.

The first is that he signed a three-year, $18 million deal to be the starter in Vancouver and, through two-thirds of the season, performed in that role quite well (28-15-1, 2.47 GAA, .913 save percentage.) And there is the oft-uttered “you shouldn’t lose your job to injury” adage to consider, even if nobody believes it to actually be true (just ask Drew Bledsoe.)

There’s also the fact Miller appears to be racing back from injury. On Friday, he flew out to join the team in Winnipeg just so he could practice and, today, said there was a chance he’d dress for tomorrow’s penultimate regular-season game against Arizona, which could pave the way for a start against Edmonton in the finale:

Finally, there’s the experience factor. Lack has a grand total of zero playoff games on his resume; Miller has 53, which includes a pair of trips to the Eastern Conference Final with Buffalo in 2006 and ’07.