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Oshie, Miller help Blues edge Flyers in shootout

by Louie Korac

ST. LOUIS -- Ryan Miller sat at his locker after a loss to the Dallas Stars on Saturday night. The St. Louis Blues goalie was feeling the burden of not performing up to par.

But the 33-year-old has been through the battles before. He knows there's no better way to atone for a shaky outing than to shine the next time he's called upon.

Not only did Miller shine Tuesday night, he was at his best since being acquired by the Blues on Feb. 28.

Miller stopped 31 shots and denied Vincent Lecavalier and Claude Giroux in the shootout and was aided by shootout goals from T.J. Oshie and Kevin Shattenkirk in a 1-0 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers at Scottrade Center. It was Miller's first shutout in 101 games dating back to March 21, 2012, against the Montreal Canadiens, and he was busy right from the start.

He made a save on Scott Hartnell from the slot 12 seconds into the game, then faced a 2-on-0 and stopped Michael Raffl 2:28 into the game after Alex Pietrangelo tripped over the skates of Shattenkirk. It was a telltale sign that it was going to be a special night.

"We had a good player. He was terrific," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of Miller, who improved to 10-3-1 with the Blues, with a 2.01 goals-against average and .920 save percentage. "He was focused and competitive and whatever else we needed of him. We needed him badly.

"We had a very loose start to the game and he stood tall. It was a game that was 1-0 in overtime and it could have been 7-6 easily. We really needed him and he came through big time."

The shutout made the game even sweeter for Miller, who helped the Blues improve to 51-17-7 on the season, tying the franchise record for wins set in 1999-2000. They lead the Anaheim Ducks by three points in the Western Conference race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and trail the Boston Bruins by one point in the race for the Presidents' Trophy.

"It's a nice feeling, especially against a team that's playing really well from the East and coming on the heels of a couple games where I've been trying to reestablish and bounce back and get back to the form that I need to be in," Miller said. "Definitely was trying to be aware of some of their [players]. They get loose, they get open. I was just trying to be aware of where they were on the ice. I got a couple early looks, but I was able to set my feet and get a piece of them."

Oshie continued his mastery in the shootout and Shattenkirk provided the winning margin.

Oshie gave the Blues the lead in the shootout with a backhand shot over Flyers goalie Ray Emery and improved to 9-for-12 this season. Shattenkirk ended the game when he snapped a shot past Emery in the third round after Miller snagged Giroux's wrister.

"Yeah, I've seen a little bit of him. He's burned me a few times," Miller joked. "I think he kind of knew maybe I'd been watching. I thought he was going to do his little backhand move. He's done that three or four times this year. I think he was trying to take me in another direction. I saw he didn't set that up, so I thought he was going to maybe change sides of the net. The glove was in the right spot."

Emery's second shutout of the season came in a 28-save performance. He blanked the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 20, 2013.

"It's frustrating to fall short in the shootout, but I thought we did well and it's a great team," Emery said. "It was definitely a good effort on our part I think. It's a good effort, but at the same time, it's kind of frustrating."

The Flyers (39-27-9) have 87 points, three fewer than the New York Rangers after the latter's 3-1 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night. Philadelphia has two games in hand on New York.

"I look at how we played. We played a good hockey game and we got a point out of it," Flyers coach Craig Berube said. "Of course we want two points, but we didn't put it in the back of the net.

"I thought down the stretch we've done a great job and we've got to keep it going. We've got a big game Thursday [against the Columbus Blue Jackets] and this one is over with. This was a huge game. They're all big."

Neither team could score in the second period, but each missed out on prime scoring chances.

Blues forward Jaden Schwartz intercepted a Braydon Coburn outlet feed and clanked the crossbar from the slot eight seconds into the period.

Raffl was robbed by Miller on a one-time shot coming in from the right circle when the Blues goalie kicked over the left pad to keep the game scoreless 2:48 into the period.

"I'm always [upset] when I can't score," Raffl said. "I am a forward, but you have to give [Miller] credit. He made desperate saves out there and he played really well."

Pietrangelo was in the slot and fired a shot off the left post with 17 seconds left in the second to keep the game scoreless.

In overtime, Miller stopped Flyers forward Jakub Voracek twice on the doorstep with his right pad with 1:30 remaining.

"I was happy to get that one because it gave us a chance to get the win and push the game on as far as we can go and see what can happen," Miller said. "It was a fun night. When pucks are hitting you, it's a lot of fun."

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