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Miller, Canucks top Hurricanes in 2nd straight shutout

by Kurt Dusterberg /

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Getting back-to-back shutouts on consecutive nights is not easy for a goaltender. It's even more difficult to do on the road.

But Vancouver Canucks goalie Ryan Miller battled through a difficult first period, and his teammates scored three times in the second for a 3-0 win against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Friday.

Miller made 28 saves for Vancouver (25-15-3), one night after making 30 saves in a 4-0 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers.

"Just because you do something one [game] doesn't mean you're going to do it again," said Miller, who has five shutouts this season. "You just get to the right mental place and then trust that everything works out. I came out to play a puck today, then things slowed down and I got very lucky it didn't go in. Different game."

Miller was referring to a scoring chance when Riley Nash missed an open net from a tight angle, but it was the goalie's only misstep. He was particularly strong in the first period, stopping Alexander Semin at close range and later getting just enough of Patrick Dwyer's wrist shot that leaked wide of the post.

The Hurricanes held a decisive edge in offensive-zone time and outshot the Canucks 12-4 in a scoreless period.

"Sometimes you need your goalie to bail you out and Ryan did," Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins said. "It certainly gave us a chance tonight. It was great to win, but maybe a game we didn't deserve to win without our goaltender."

Miller said he wasn't surprised that the first period felt so lopsided.

"Carolina is a lot like Philadelphia," he said. "Being in the [Eastern Conference] for a long time, I know how these teams play in their buildings. They're going to come out and push hard with their defense. Having us back-to-back, they were going to push hard in the first."

The Canucks countered the hard-charging Hurricanes in the second with quick passes out of the defensive zone. Vancouver scored at 6:18 on a Carolina miscue. Justin Faulk fumbled a Vancouver pass in the neutral zone, allowing Derek Dorsett to get a step on him and beat goalie Cam Ward over his glove.

Vancouver pushed the lead to 2-0 on Shawn Matthias's eighth of the season at 12:57. Jannik Hansen chipped the puck into the neutral zone, where Matthias gathered it and skated in alone on Ward before making a deke and finishing on the forehand.

Alexandre Burrows took a stretch pass from Ryan Stanton, got behind the Carolina defense, and scored on a snap shot for a 3-0 lead at 16:49.

Ward, who made 10 saves through two periods, was replaced by Anton Khudobin.

"To move the puck quick, you have to have guys moving and getting into position quick," said Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who had his first two-point game of the season. "Five guys moving all over the ice and working for each other. We kind of dumbed it down a little bit and tried to get pucks behind their defense and make the shifts hard on them."

The Canucks are two games removed from a three-game losing streak when they scored two goals. Now they have seven goals from seven players in two nights.

"Not too long ago, we couldn't score goals it seems like," said Burrows, who has 10. "Now everybody has some bounces going their way. As long as we keep getting pucks on net and we keep getting traffic, we're going to get some bounces."

Carolina (14-25-5) had been enjoying a stretch of solid play, with 18 goals going 4-1-1 to start January.

"We made too many mistakes," Carolina coach Bill Peters said. "We turned the puck over way too many times."

Peters was unhappy with the third period, when the Hurricanes managed eight shots.

"They're up by three (and) you know they're not going to push it, they don't need to score again," he said. "But you've got to work hard, you've got to have five guys above the puck. You know it takes hard work to build speed and do it together, and we weren't willing to do that."

The Hurricanes travel to face the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. The Canucks play the fourth game of a five-game road trip against the Florida Panthers on Monday.

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