Ryan Miller takes over but 'felt for Eddie'

 

 
 
 
 
Ryan Miller #30 of the Vancouver Canucks makes a save against the Calgary Flames in Game Four of the Western Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome on April 21, 2015 in Calgary.
 

Ryan Miller #30 of the Vancouver Canucks makes a save against the Calgary Flames in Game Four of the Western Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome on April 21, 2015 in Calgary.

Photograph by: Derek Leung, Getty Images

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CALGARY -- One positive aspect of the Vancouver Canucks’ goaltending change Tuesday was that the mocking chants of “Miller, Miller, Miller” sounded a lot like “Hiller, Hiller, Hiller.”

So at least Ryan Miller, who played the final two periods of a crushing 3-1 loss to the Calgary Flames, could pretend the hostile crowd was merely supporting Flames’ goalie Jonas Hiller. There was no ambiguity in the chants of “Eddie, Eddie, Eddie,” which may not be heard again in this National Hockey League playoff series.

Eddie Lack, the sophomore backup goalie who helped get the Canucks to the playoffs after Miller suffered torn knee ligaments on Feb. 22, was hooked by Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins for allowing three goals on seven shots in the first period when the Flames’ bolted to a 3-1 lead despite being badly outplayed at even-strength.

“I’m disappointed I had to go in in that situation,” Miller said. “I felt Eddie has been playing really well. For me, I was just trying to settle back into the intensity and the game. (Quickness) is something I’ve been working on every day to make sure I’m improving on the off-chance they needed me as an option. I didn’t want to go in in this kind of situation. You feel for Eddie. I just tried to do the best I could there.”

Deemed too rusty to start the playoffs after only one trial game on the last night of regular season, Miller stopped all 15 shots he faced on Tuesday and seems likely to start in Game 5 Thursday at Rogers Arena when the Canucks try to avoid being eliminated by the Flames.

Lack had no chance on power-play goals by Johnny Gaudreau and Jiri Hudler, but got his angle dreadfully wrong on a 3-on-2 goal credited to Sam Bennett. It was a killer goal, coming at 19:18 of the opening period and putting the Canucks two down.

“It’s not on Eddie,” Canuck defenceman Dan Hamhuis said. “He has done really well for us, made key saves and kept us in games. You feel bad for him; no one wants to be pulled. Whether the goals were his fault or not, it’s a tough situation for a young goalie. He’s done a lot to feel good about himself, too.”

Goaltending was a wildcard position when this series started, Lack unproven in the playoffs and Hiller a failed starter last year with the Anaheim Ducks.

But Hiller was sharper than Lack when he needed to be. He made 28 saves on Tuesday and has a save percentage of .938 through four games. Lack’s save percentage of .886, second-worst among the original 16 playoff starters.

 
 
 
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Ryan Miller #30 of the Vancouver Canucks makes a save against the Calgary Flames in Game Four of the Western Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome on April 21, 2015 in Calgary.
 

Ryan Miller #30 of the Vancouver Canucks makes a save against the Calgary Flames in Game Four of the Western Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome on April 21, 2015 in Calgary.

Photograph by: Derek Leung, Getty Images

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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