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Canucks spoil Ducks' home opener in shootout win

by Abbey Mastracco

ANAHEIM -- Alexandre Burrows scored the decisive shootout goal and the Vancouver Canucks spoiled the Anaheim Ducks' home opener with a 2-1 win at Honda Center on Monday.

In the first 3-on-3 overtime for the Ducks, they had an advantage when Corey Perry drew a hooking penalty against Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler at 2:42. But they failed to convert on the ensuing power play.

Ryan Miller made 28 saves for Vancouver, including three during the penalty kill in overtime. His poke-check on Perry's shootout attempt sealed the win.

"It's a tough building and it's a good team," said Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins. "I think there were parts where they cycled real well, but we kind of held on and Ryan was real big again for us today."

Miller had a long layoff after injuring his knee last season. He's worked back to everyday goaltending duties physically, but there was a mental component he wanted to work towards as well.

Through three games, he's happy with his progress.

"My goal was to be at a certain level to start the season," Miller said. "I'm still addressing a few certain things, but the main thing I want to do is compete. I think that's been pretty good in these first few games. I'm still trying to hold on tight to that mindset."

Miller hasn't been ruled out to start again Tuesday at the Los Angeles Kings. He's confident that he can handle back-to-back games, and Desjardins says he's played well enough to warrant the start.

Sami Vatanen scored the first goal of the season for the Ducks on a slap shot from the point at 1:56 in the second period.

But Canucks forward Adam Cracknell tied the game on a sharp-angle shot at 8:38. Jannik Hansen's shot from the right circle was denied by Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen, but the rebound went right to Cracknell and he put it over Andersen's shoulder.

"We want to attack the net on these guys," Cracknell said. "We want to get pucks and bodies to the net. That's something that we've been working on. It went in. We just threw it on net. We wanted to create as many opportunities as we can by doing that."

Shawn Horcoff had a golden opportunity to put the Ducks back in front midway through the third period when he broke through the defense and let go a wrist shot from point-blank range that was denied by Miller.

"I pushed over to get a good lane and he got separation," Miller said. "Seeing he got separation, it kind of stopped my route and made that play. He got a shot and I still had time to be there."

Anaheim has struggled with the power play in recent seasons and it continues to be problematic. The Ducks are scoreless in four tries with the man advantage, and the 4-on-3 overtime power play was viewed as a key opportunity missed.

"We just watched it again," said coach Bruce Boudreau. "When you get those things, you can't force plays. I think we tried to force plays into areas that weren't there and when that happens and they get to clear it, it builds their momentum up and tears ours down and you get tired and you have to go back and get it all the time. It's not a good thing. We've got to get back to the drawing board when it comes to the 4-on-3s."

Monday was the first time Ducks defenseman Kevin Bieksa faced his former club since the June 30 trade that sent him from Vancouver to Anaheim. Bieksa logged 24:25 of ice time, second to partner Hampus Lindholm, who led the Ducks with 25:08.

"It was a lot better than I thought it would be," Bieksa said. "Like I said before the game, I was hoping that once the game started it would feel like just a normal hockey game and it did. There were a couple of times during timeouts you look over, and it's a little different. But I felt like once the puck dropped and the game started, it was business as usual."

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