Canucks’ Miller acknowledges ‘feast or famine’ season

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It’s been an up and down season for the Vancouver Canucks, and that seems especially true for Ryan Miller.

The last two games might depict that contrast most succinctly: after shutting out the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday, Miller was pulled midway through Monday’s loss to the Minnesota Wild after allowing five goals on 18 shots.

The 34-year-old seemed perplexed by his erratic work in discussing it with the Vancouver Province.

“There are no real adjustments — just stay the course and take what you can out of it,” Miller said. “My read on the third goal (Nino Niederreiter slot slapper off cross-ice feed) could have been better and he got it up. I don’t know. That’s hockey. Feast or famine I guess — four hooks and six shutouts. Who knows?”

Most goalies probably see some pretty dramatic differences in their stats in wins versus losses, yet the disparity is still pretty striking with Miller.

In 25 wins, he has those six shutouts, a 1.47 GAA and a .947 save percentage. In 15 defeats, his GAA balloons to 4.40 and his save percentage plummets to .849.

On face value, his stats are about par for the course for his career (25-14-1 record, 2.45 GAA, and a .913 save percentage that’s just short of his .915 career average).

At his age, it’s not likely that he’ll make drastic changes. He’s just going to need to hope for better results from himself and his team going forward.

Wild’s winning streak reaches six games after defeating the Canucks

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Around this time last month, the Minnesota Wild was in a free fall. Seems like a distant memory right now.

The Wild defeated the Vancouver Canucks by a final score of 5-3 on Monday, taking advantage of some sloppy defensive lapses from the Pacific Division visitors and forcing Ryan Miller from the net, for the team’s sixth straight victory, and eighth in its last 10 games.

Suddenly, the playoffs seem possible.

The Wild moved to 58 points, which put it three back of the Calgary Flames for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, with the Flames also in action Monday.

Behind Minnesota’s recent success is goalie Devan Dubnyk, who has started in each of the Wild’s last six wins. He has three shutouts in that span, although he was beaten three times by the Canucks, who had 25 shots on goal.

Wild forwards Jason Zucker and Ryan Carter left the game in the first period, both upper-body injuries, said head coach Mike Yeo, as per Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“We should not expect them back in the lineup in the near future,” said Yeo.

After a solid shutout victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday, the Canucks got to within a goal early in the second period, but then coughed up two goals in 54 seconds as the Wild increased its lead to three.

“It’s frustrating. To make the playoffs you have to string wins together and we have to find a way to do that,” said Canucks forward Zack Kassian, who scored for the second time in as many games.

Canucks center Nick Bonino left the game after blocking a shot in the second period.

That could leave the Canucks in a pinch, especially up the middle, with Brad Richardson out with a foot injury.

Canucks goalie Ryan Miller pulled against red-hot Wild

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Vancouver Canucks goalie Ryan Miller was pulled before the midway point of the second period, after allowing five goals on 18 shots against the Minnesota Wild on Monday.

Eddie Lack came into the game for Vancouver.

The Canucks managed to get within a goal early in the second period, but Minnesota countered right back with two goals in 54 seconds, upping their lead to three.

Minnesota entered the game on a five-game winning streak, which included back-to-back shutouts in their last two games. Meanwhile, Miller was coming off a tidy 31-save shutout over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

Goalie nods: Red-hot McElhinney faces desperate Kings

All the latest from the blue paint…

Jackets roll with McElhinney

Curtis McElhinney will start his third straight game when the Blue Jackets host the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings in Columbus tonight.

McElhinney, propelled into starting duties with Sergei Bobrovsky injured, has been excellent as of late; over the weekend, he earned back-to-back starts against St. Louis and Ottawa and played extremely well, stopping 66 of 68 shots for a .971 save percentage (and a pair of wins: 7-1 over the Blues and 4-1 over the Sens).

The 31-year-old, who’s a UFA at season’s end, has been pretty steady for Columbus this season and received plenty of playing time given Bobrovsky’s recurring health woes. McElhinney’s 7-8-1 on the year with a 2.77 GAA and .915 save percentage.

For the Kings, Jonathan Quick is expected to get the start in goal. L.A. heads into tonight’s action five points back of eighth-place Calgary in the Western Conference.

Elsewhere…

Oilers at Devils: Ben Scrivens vs. Cory Schneider

Canucks at Wild: Ryan Miller vs. Devan Dubnyk

Coyotes at ‘Hawks: Mike Smith vs. Antti Raanta

Flames at Sharks: Jonas Hiller for Calgary, Antti Niemi likely for San Jose.

Goalie Nods: Dubnyk gets ninth straight start

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Dubnyk looks for a fifth straight win

Devan Dubnyk will make his ninth consecutive start Saturday night when the Colorado Avalanche visit Minnesota. Dubnyk posted a 24 save shutout of the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. The 28-year-old has won four straight while posting a 0.75 G.A.A. and a .974 save percentage.

Semyon Varlamov gets the start for the Colorado Avalanche.

Elsewhere…

Kings at Lightning: Jonathan Quick vs. Ben Bishop

Blue Jackets at Senators: Curtis McElhinney vs. Robin Lehner

Devils at Canadiens: Keith Kinkaid vs. Carey Price

Oilers at Leafs: Viktor Fasth vs. James Reimer

Stars at Sabres: Anders Lindback vs. Jhonas Enroth

Islanders at Bruins: Chad Johnson vs. Tuukka Rask

Red Wings at Coyotes: Petr Mrazek vs. Mike Smith

Penguins at Canucks: Thomas Greiss, vs. Ryan Miller

Hurricanes at Sharks: Cam Ward  vs. Antti Niemi