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

AP
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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. NHL.com 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.

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