JT Miller’s unassisted overtime goal secures Vancouver Canucks victory over Montreal Canadiens

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JT Miller's unassisted overtime goal secures Vancouver Canucks victory over Montreal Canadiens


MONTREAL – For JT Miller and the Vancouver Canucks, sometimes it’s better to be a little lucky than good.
Miller scored 2:01 in overtime as Vancouver beat Montreal 3-2 for their fourth straight win on Friday night. Miller clinched his ninth of the season unassisted moments after Canadiens forward Josh Anderson failed to convert a breakaway attempt.

Miller rolled down the left side, cut the front of the net and landed a backhand shot past Montreal goaltender Jake Allen to give Vancouver their seventh win in eight games.

“It wasn’t really a manual,” Miller said. “I was on the ice for a really long time, but I didn’t do much… I always felt fresh.

“It’s one of those things that I knew I was going against a striker and then when I went through the first guy, it’s a hot move of the moment that doesn’t happen very often. I was very lucky to be successful and that was obviously a big goal for us, but it won’t happen too often. ”

Nick Suzuki forced overtime with a power play goal at 19:03 of the third, his sixth. He scored with Montreal on a two-man advantage as Allen, who stopped 25 shots, was on the bench.

“It wasn’t like a deflating goal,” Miller said. “They had a six on four with some of the best shooters in the league in the lead.

“We were obviously not deflated. Sometimes it takes over 60 minutes and we knew we had to get off to a good start. It was a weird start to overtime, they had the puck and were swinging a lot. so you had to stay with him and endure when you had the chance. ”

Adam Gaudette and Nils Hoglander scored in regulation time for Vancouver (16-16-2). Thatcher Demko stopped 29 shots for his eighth win in nine starts.

“It was a good team effort right from the puck drop,” said Canucks head coach Travis Green. “The team checked it out, we just played a good game on the road.

“It’s the kind of hockey we need to play to be successful and we’ve been talking about it for a long time now. It’s good to be victorious. ”

Corey Perry scored the other goal for Montreal (13-8-9), which fell to 0-6 this season in overtime and lost four of five games overall. The Canadiens had just lost 4-3 in overtime to Winnipeg on Wednesday to cap a six-game road trip (2-2-2).

Dominique Ducharme, Montreal’s interim head coach, believes his team’s overtime problems are mental.

“Obviously at some point it’s mental, but what we need is to bury one and be done with it,” he said. “We’re doing this tonight, probably everyone’s talking about the team of characters that we come back to and tie the game together.

“Our guys, of course they think about it when the time comes. I’m sure a guy like Andy goes on a breakaway, he’s probably putting more pressure on himself, thinking, ‘I’m going to end it this time.’ Yeah, that’s outside of that, but we’ve got to stick with that and next time we’ll get it. ”

Montreal opened a six-game homestand with its first game at the Bell Center since a 7-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on March 6. The Canadians will host Vancouver again on Saturday night.

“It’s a very fine line between winning and losing,” Miller said. “We’re playing the right way and if we believe in our game and trust our system and play the right way most nights we’ll get the results.

“It’s easy to get impatient, but I think we did a good job of sticking with it and putting a good game in front of us more nights than not. ”

Ahead of the competition, the Canadiens honored longtime equipment manager Pierre Gervais, who recently played in his 3,000th game in the NHL.

Allen and Perry combined to give Montreal a 1-0 lead in the first period.

Perry opened the scoring on the power play at 4:15. After Jeff Petry’s shot from the point hit the post, Perry hit the rebound past Demko for his sixth of the season.

Allen, who was in his 300th career NHL game, was solid throughout the game as Vancouver beat Montreal 11-8.

But Gaudette shot Vancouver even at 2:25 of a second. He redirected Antoine Roussel’s centering attempt in front of Allen for his fourth of the year,

Hoglander gave Vancouver their first lead of the game, deflecting the puck past Allen at 6:37, his sixth of the season.

Vancouver was minus forward Tanner Pearson (lower body injury). He was injured in the third period Wednesday against Ottawa and is expected to be out for at least four weeks.

Pearson has 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 33 games this season. Forward Jimmy Vesey made his debut for Vancouver after being claimed waivers from Toronto on Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 19, 2021.

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