(SportsNetwork.com) – Ryan Miller was not the answer to the St. Louis Blues’
Stanley Cup dreams last spring, but he hopes to lead the Vancouver Canucks to
a victory when they visit Scottrade Center on Thursday.
The Blues attempted to solidify a deep playoff run last season by getting
Miller from Buffalo at the trade deadline, but it didn’t pay off and Miller
left in the summer to sign a three-year, $18 million deal with Vancouver.
Miller went 7-0-1 over his first eight games with the Blues last season, but
wound up with a 10-8-1 mark in 19 regular-season tests with the club. The
former Vezina Trophy winner then sported a 2.70 goals against average and .897
save percentage in the playoffs, as St. Louis lost in six games to Chicago in
the opening round.
Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins is expected to go with Miller in net
tonight. However, the former longtime Sabres netminder is 1-4-0 with a 3.22
GAA in five career tests against the Blues.
Miller and the Canucks were slammed in their most recent trip to the ice,
losing 6-3 in Dallas on Tuesday at the start of a three-game road trip. The
Stars scored the game’s first five goals to chase Miller from the game early
in the second period. Miller made eight saves on 13 shots and was replaced by
Eddie Lack, who stopped 14-of-15 shots.
“We got a couple of tough breaks early on that put us behind,” said Miller.
“It’s just a tough night, just a couple of tough situations.”
Vancouver is hoping to end a two-game slide tonight before capping its road
trip tomorrow at Colorado. The Canucks began the season 3-0 before losing to
Tampa Bay and Dallas.
The Blues also hope to rebound on Thursday after getting shut out in Sunday’s
game at Anaheim. The 3-0 setback dropped the Blues to 1-1-1 on their three-
game road trip, but the club now gets to play two straight and four of its
next five games on home ice.
Brian Elliott made 22 saves for the Blues, who had netted six goals in
Saturday’s win against the Arizona Coyotes.
“We took two-thirds of the game to get going and by then it is too late,”
Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said. “I wasn’t happy with the way we played,
Jake Allen will make only his second start of the season tonight. The 24-year-
old goaltender won his season debut Saturday in Arizona after stopping 24-
of-25 shots. Allen is 1-1-0 with a 2.90 GAA in two career games against the
The Blues have several players battling flu-like symptoms, including forward
Alexander Steen, who could miss tonight’s tilt. However, centerman Jori
Lehtera, who missed Sunday’s game in Anaheim with the flu, skated Wednesday
and could be ready to go tonight.
St. Louis centerman Paul Stastny also is week-to-week with an upper-body
injury suffered against the Coyotes.
Vancouver won all three meetings against the Blues last season and has won
four of five and six of eight in the series overall. The Canucks also have won
two of their last three tests in St. Louis.