VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Ryan Miller had trouble recalling the last time he beat his brother in an NHL game. The Vancouver Canucks goalie will certainly remember this one for a while.
Miller made 29 saves, including a point-blank chance against Drew Miller in the first period, as the Canucks beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 on Saturday night.
”I haven’t beat him in a while, or ever … I don’t know,” Ryan Miller said with a smile. ”I owed him a win.”
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The 34-year-old goalie was 1-7 against his younger brother coming into the game – including Vancouver’s 5-3 loss in Detroit on Nov. 30 – and 2-10-2 overall in his career against the Red Wings. But he was the difference as the Canucks bounced back after being badly outplayed in a disappointing 3-2 home loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.
Ryan Miller – who said Drew’s shot midway through the first period simply hit his pad as opposed to it being a reactionary save – said he appreciates the unique opportunity to play against his brother.
”Not a whole lot of people have gotten a chance to do this,” said Ryan Miller, who had a lot family in town for the game. ”When you think about how long pro hockey’s been played, especially at the NHL level, not a lot of people get to say they get to do something like this.”
The Canucks got power-play got from Alexander Edler, his first in 23 games, and Radim Vrbata. Henrik Sedin added two empty-net goals – the 200th and 201st of his career – to go along with an assist.
”It’s been tough as a group to not get the amount of power plays we want,” Sedin said, ”but tonight we got three or four and sometimes that’s what you need to start feeling the puck and make plays.”
Daniel Sedin chipped in with three assists, including two on the empty-netters, and Edler added one of his own in a contest that was much closer than the final score.
”It’s not that the game couldn’t have gone either way, it could have,” Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said. ”We had a good night on the specialty teams and that was probably the difference.”
Tomas Tatar scored for Detroit, which got 20 stops from Jimmy Howard.
”I thought we did lots of good things,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. ”(Ryan) Miller was good and our specialty teams weren’t good enough.”
Vancouver grabbed the lead against the league’s No. 2 penalty-killing unit 1:48 into the second when Edler blasted a one-timer from the top of the face-off circle past a screened Howard.
”It was a big win, a big two points for us. We played pretty good,” said Edler, whose four goals this season have all come with the man-advantage. ”It’s a tough team to play and we battled hard. We got a couple (goals) on special teams. That was big.”
The Red Wings started to push back as the period wore on, with Ryan Miller stopping a couple of chances from Pavel Datsyuk, including a nice glove save on a redirection off the rush.
Detroit got a power play early in the third, and Miller made two more big stops on Datsyuk that had fans at Rogers Arena chanting ”Miller! Miller!”
The Canucks doubled the lead on the power play at 9:11 when Vrbata buried his own rebound past a down-and-out Howard for his 16th of the season and third in as many games.
Tatar made the Canucks sweat when he scored his 16th of the season with 3:30 to go in the third and Howard on the bench for an extra attacker.
But the Canucks sealed it when Henrik Sedin scored his seventh of the season into an empty net for his milestone goal with 1:51 left on the clock before adding another with 31.2 seconds remaining.
”Even after they scored their goal, there was no panic on the bench,” he said. ”We kept playing the way we had throughout the game so I think we showed a lot of composure.”
NOTES: Canucks F Zack Kassian suited up for the first time since Nov. 25. The 23-year-old missed 13 games with a broken finger before sitting out one more as a healthy scratch Thursday. Kassian took the place of Linden Vey, who has just two assists in the last 12 games. … Canucks enforcer Tom Sestito cleared waivers and was assigned to the AHL’s Utica Comets.