Miller’s second straight shutout puts Canucks in NHL lead

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The Vancouver Canucks didn’t sound like a team that just secured a 5-0 victory over Columbus to claim to a NHL-leading 16-6-1 record.

“We scored timely goals, but there wasn’t much to be happy about out there,” Chris Higgins, who scored the winning goal, noted per the team’s Twitter account. “It could have went their way tonight.”

“This wasn’t a good game, but (goaltender Ryan Miller) was good and he helped us win this one,” Alex Burrows added.

There’s no question that Miller was the hero tonight for Vancouver. He turned aside all 30 Blue Jackets shots he faced to earn his second consecutive shutout. His decision to sign with Vancouver over the summer made the franchise look good for trading away talented netminders Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo in separate deals because even after all of that, the Canucks still have strong goaltending.

The Canucks have offensive depth too, which was on display tonight as five different players found the back of the net (Higgins, Henrik Sedin, Shawn Matthias, Brad Richardson, Burrows). Nick Bonino assisted on three of those markers to give him 19 points in 23 contests.

Even if this wasn’t the blowout that the final score suggests and even if the Canucks weren’t in the mood to pat their own backs after this one, the fact remains that they are the league leaders, which is a remarkable turn of events after they missed the playoffs entirely in 2013-14.