VANCOUVER — Ryan Miller expected a rested St. Louis team to come out firing on Saturday against his Canucks. Unfortunately for the Vancouver goalie, the Blues proved him absolutely right.
St. Louis had a season-high 50 shots on goal en route to a 3-0 victory over struggling Vancouver.
The Blues had lost two straight and hadn’t played since Wednesday, a 6-4 loss in Edmonton.
"That was a rested team that had something to prove to their coach," said Miller, who was impressive despite the loss with 47 saves. "I knew they would be focused and ready. That’s the kind of night where you have to weather it and see what you can get out of it."
Unfortunately the Canucks didn’t get much because their offence has disappeared recently. It was their fourth straight loss and second time being shut out in as many night. Vancouver (27-32-12) was blanked 2-0 in Edmonton on Friday.
"We played a really good team tonight and it showed," said Canucks captain Henrik Sedin. "They outshot us 50-19. We played last night and came in here against a team that had been waiting for us."
Brian Elliott made 19 saves in his return from injury while Troy Brouwer, Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz scored for the Blues (42-22-9). St. Louis stayed tied with the L.A. Kings at 93, two points back of Dallas for the Western Conference lead.
It was Elliott’s first game since Feb. 22 when he went down with a lower-body injury. Saturday was his second shutout this season and 32nd of his career.
"I think for our whole team we needed to have a good game and get a good solid St. Louis Blues type of hockey game," said Elliot. "We didn’t play well the last couple of outings and this is good. Hopefully we can take it into San Jose and wrap up the road trip with a high."
Miller started the game strong with a big save on Tarasenko, stopping a 2-on-1 between Robby Fabbri and Brouwer, then shutting the door on an all-alone Scottie Upshall in front of Vancouver’s net. Miller faced a whopping 18 shots in the first period.
Elliott had a bit more to do in the second. He gloved a wrist shot off a Daniel Sedin breakaway seconds into the period and four minutes later stopped a hard shot from defenceman Dan Hamuis in the slot.
St. Louis finally broke through at the other end while on the power play at 16:18. Again it was Fabbri and Brouwer with the 2-on-1, but this time Brouwer had a wide open net with Miller out of position.
"Fabbri did a good job faking everybody out and was able to slide it over to me for an empty netter," said Brouwer. "We did a lot of good things to generate a lot of great opportunities tonight."
Brouwer almost had another before the period’s end when he spun around and beat Miller a split second after the buzzer went off. It was the end of another busy period for Miller, who faced 37 shots through two.
Tarasenko doubled the lead when he deposited a big rebound off a Schwartz shot at 11:54. It was Tarasenko’s 34th of the year and 100th goal of his career.
"It’s actually really a better feeling because we win today and thanks to my teammates to make me reach this 100 and hope more to come," said Tarasenko.
Schwartz added some insurance with an empty-netter.
Notes: Vancouver called up veteran Chris Higgins from Utica (AHL) for the first time since sending him down in January.