Ryan Miller gets 36th shutout as Canucks blank LA Kings 3-0
LOS ANGELES (AP) Although Ryan Miller and coach Willie Desjardins refuse to get excited too early, the Vancouver Canucks are on an early-season roll through their Pacific Division opponents’ home buildings.
Miller made 15 saves in his 36th career shutout, Adam Cracknell scored his second goal in two games, and the Canucks completed a Southern California sweep with a 3-0 victory over the winless Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.
Alexander Edler had a goal and an assist, and Derek Dorsett added an empty-net goal for the Canucks, who followed up a 2-1 shootout win over Anaheim on Monday by improving to 3-0-1.
Desjardins preached caution against overconfidence from the Canucks’ California double, even after a victory that was never really in doubt.
”It’s not like we dominated,” Desjardins said. ”We could have lost both games as well. Both teams are really good teams. We’re happy with the wins, but we’re not taking anything for granted.”
Miller is off to a strong start after matching his career high with six shutouts last season, his first with the Canucks. Not even the veteran goalie imagined the Canucks would win their first three road games of the season, particularly against two playoff teams and a recent Stanley Cup champion. Vancouver also won at Calgary in its season opener.
”You hope, (but) you look at the schedule and see some tough games,” Miller said. ”Not every night is going to go your way, either. But we put ourselves in a good position.”
Jonathan Quick stopped 23 shots for struggling Los Angeles, which has been outscored 11-2 while losing three straight home games to open the season.
Since Nick Shore scored 1:49 into their season opener, the Kings have managed just one goal in 178 minutes, 11 seconds. Their power play is 0 for 13.
”We’re just not doing the things that we’ve got to do to get the quality chances and the shots,” center Anze Kopitar said. ”Whether that’s not coming in with position or recovering the puck the way we should, we’re playing too soft.”
Quick made several big saves in his best effort of the season after giving up nine goals in Los Angeles’ first two games, but the two-time Stanley Cup champion and 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner got no support from his teammates. The Kings’ championship-winning veterans have seen enough.
”We’re not doing what we need to do in order to win,” defenseman Alec Martinez said. ”We’re not winning battles in tough areas, we’re not good enough in our own end and we’re not capitalizing on chances. We’re not playing with a sense of urgency.”
For the second straight night, the Canucks got another unlikely offensive contribution from Cracknell. The veteran forward hadn’t scored in 49 games since April 4, 2013, until he scored in back-to-back games in Southern California.
One night after banking a weird shot off Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen for his seventh career NHL goal, Cracknell got his eighth with a one-timer that ricocheted off Quick, who didn’t anticipate the shot being so far off-target.
”To come down here and play Anaheim and L.A. very well, both strong teams, we needed everybody,” Cracknell said. ”That’s what we got from these last two games.”
Vancouver failed to score on a 5-on-3 advantage for 80 seconds later in the second, but Edler made it 2-0 with a long shot on a cross-ice pass from Henrik Sedin.
The Kings came up empty on three straight power plays early in the third period, and they rarely threatened to score before Dorsett wrapped it up.
NOTES: Jake Virtanen made his NHL debut for Vancouver, playing nearly 9 1-2 minutes and recording three hits. The 19-year-old forward was the sixth overall pick in 2014, and the British Columbia native made the Canucks’ roster out of training camp after spending most of last season in juniors. … Vancouver had lost six of eight to Los Angeles before winning the Pacific Division rivals’ last three meetings.
This story has been corrected to show that the coach is Willie Desjardins.