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Ryan Miller perfect as Canucks blank Coyotes 3-0

Vancouver Canucks centre Brandon Sutter (20) scores on Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (41) during a penalty shot during third period NHL action in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017.
Vancouver Canucks centre Brandon Sutter (20) scores on Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (41) during a penalty shot during third period NHL action in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

VANCOUVER – Ryan Miller made 22 saves and the Vancouver Canucks earned their first shutout of the season with a 3-0 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday night.

Brandon Sutter, Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi scored for the Canucks (19-18-3), who have won five straight for their longest win streak of the season. The victory moved suddenly surging Vancouver above .500 for the first time since October.

It was Miller’s 37th career shutout and first in 70 games.

The struggling Coyotes (11-22-5) have lost eight straight and remain last in the Pacific Division. Starting goalie Mike Smith made 21 saves.

A defensive gaffe from the Coyotes midway in the first led to Vancouver opening the scoring. Defenceman Kevin Connauton coughed up the puck right on to Baertschi’s stick in Arizona’s zone and the red-hot Canucks forward wristed it past Smith. It was Baertschi’s 11th goal of the season and seventh in the past 11 games.

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A scoreless second period didn’t see many chances. At eight minutes in Canucks winger Loui Eriksson streaked down the wing with speed and space, but he couldn’t beat Smith. Eriksson had another chance late in the period while on a 2-on-1 with Sutter, but again Smith made the stop. The Coyotes, meanwhile, managed two shots on goal in the second.

Sutter made it 2-0 seven minutes into the third on a successful penalty shot after getting hooked by Luke Schenn. Sutter made a nice deke before lifting a backhand over Smith’s goalie pads. Horvat added a goal with six minutes left when also went backhand on a breakaway against Smith.

Miller preserved the shutout with a couple of impressive saves during an Arizona power play in the final minutes.

Notes: The Canucks claimed forward Reid Boucher off waivers on Wednesday. It’s his second team this week. The Devils waived him Tuesday after claiming him Monday from Nashville. Boucher has one goal and two assists in 12 games this season between New Jersey and the Preds.

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