Miller, Blues blank Flyers in shootout
The St. Louis Blues acquired Ryan Miller for moments such as these.
Miller stopped 31 shots and kept the net empty in a shootout, too.
He was precisely as advertised, a goalie that be a difference-maker when there’s no room for mistakes.
"Millsy standing on his head — that’s what we brought him here to do," forward T.J. Oshie said after the Blues outlasted the Philadelphia Flyers 1-0 on Tuesday night and matched the franchise record with their 51st win.
"There were some saves where you feel like you’re about to put your head down because it’s going to go in the net, and he seems so calm and just sticks his pad out and saves it."
Miller is 10-3-1 with a 2.01 goals-against average and .920 save percentage since coming in a trade with Buffalo.
Oshie and Kevin Shattenkirk scored in the shootout for the Blues, who have 109 points — one fewer than Boston for the top spot in the NHL.
They’re 9-3 in the shootout largely because of Oshie, who’s an uncanny 9 for 12 after converting a backhand, and also put on quite a show at the Sochi Olympics.
"Yeah, I knew he was good and I knew what to expect," Ray Emery said. "But he was real quick on that one."
Miller earned his 29th career shutout and first in 101 games since March 21, 2012, against Montreal when he was with Buffalo. He made a skate save against Vincent Lecavalier and a glove save on Claude Giroux — who’s 5 for 10 — in the shootout.
Emery, the Flyers’ backup making just his third start since the beginning of March, earned his 16th career shutout and second this season.
"He definitely won us a point tonight," Flyers forward Scott Hartnell said. "In two weeks when the season’s over we’ll see how big that point is."
Miller was motivated after giving up four goals in a loss to Dallas on Saturday night, plus the Flyers are a familiar foe from his seasons in Buffalo. He’s 14-13-2 against the Flyers and this was his first shutout against them.
"It was a fun night," Miller said. "When the pucks are hitting you, it’s a lot of fun."
It was the third 1-0 shootout victory in Blues history and first since Feb. 1, 2008, against Anaheim.
One of Miller’s best saves came with 1:30 to go in overtime when he stretched out and denied Jakub Voracek’s bid to slide the puck under his pads.
"At this point in my career, I’m just trying to be really calm about everything," Miller said. "No sense letting things get off the rails and panicking too much."
Both teams killed penalties in the final five minutes of regulation, with a high-sticking call to Giroux stretching into the first 36 seconds of overtime for Philadelphia. St. Louis penalty killers have allowed three goals on 36 chances the past 12 home games.
The Flyers played in St. Louis for the first time since the 2010-11 opener.
Miller foiled two breakaways in the opening minutes, one created when defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk collided. He made an outstanding left pad save on Michael Raffl to thwart a 2-on-1 break early in the second period.
Two Blues hit the goalpost in the second period, Jaden Schwartz in the opening minute and Pietrangelo in the final minute.
Notes: Flyers D Kimmo Timonen did not make the trip after taking a puck to the chin. Alex Gustafsson played for the first time since Feb. 27. … The Blues tricked a fan between the second and third periods who was blindfolded at center ice and then shot several yards wide of the net, telling him he’d won $15,000. The fan did a celebratory belly flop on the ice before being told he’d been duped. … The Blues’ last 0-0 regulation game was March 22, 2012, at Los Angeles, a 1-0 shootout loss. … The Flyers have been shut out four times. … The Blues also won 51 games in 1999-2000, when they won the Presidents’ Trophy.