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Family Affair: Ryan Miller makes 29 saves as Canucks beat Red Wings 4-1

01/04/2015 12:44 EST | Updated 03/05/2015 05:59 EST
VANCOUVER - Ryan Miller had difficulty remembering the last time he beat his brother in an NHL game.

He won't have to think back very far after Saturday.

The veteran goalie made 29 saves — including one point-blank chance off Drew Miller in the first period — as the Vancouver Canucks downed the Detroit Red Wings 4-1.

"I haven't beat him in a while, or ever ... I don't know," Ryan Miller said with a smile. "I owed him a win."

The 34-year-old was 1-7 against his younger sibling coming into the game — including Vancouver's 5-3 loss in Detroit on Nov. 30 — and 2-10-2 overall in his career against the Red Wings, but was the difference on this night as the Canucks bounced back after being badly outplayed in a disappointing 3-2 home loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.

Ryan Miller — who admitted Drew's shot midway through the first period simply hit his pad as opposed to it being a reactionary save — said he appreciates the unique opportunity to play against his brother.

"Not a whole lot of people have gotten a chance to do this," said Ryan Miller, who had a number of family members in town for the game. "When you think about how long pro hockey's been played, especially at the NHL level, not a lot of people get to say they get to do something like this."

The Canucks (22-12-3) appreciated their netminder's play as well as a resurgent power play that got goals from Alexander Edler, his first in 23 games, and Radim Vrbata.

Henrik Sedin added two empty-net goals — the 200th and 201st of his career — to go along with an assist.

"The last two, three weeks (the power play has) felt really good," said Vancouver's captain. "With (Alexandre Burrows) in front doing such a good job it feels like we get a scoring chance every time we get the puck there. It's been tough as a group to not get the amount of power plays we want but tonight we got three or four and sometimes that's what you need to start feeling the puck and make plays."

Daniel Sedin chipped in with three assists, including two on the empty netters, and Edler added one of his own in a contest that was much closer than the final score.

"It's not that the game couldn't have gone either way, it could have," said Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins. "We had a good night on the specialty teams and that was probably the difference."

Tomas Tatar scored for Detroit (20-10-9), which got 20 stops from Jimmy Howard.

"I thought we did lots of good things," said Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock. "(Ryan) Miller was good and our specialty teams weren't good enough."

The Canucks talked a lot about consistency in the wake of the loss to the Kings, a game where they were outshot 40-16 following a hard-fought 3-1 road win over the San Jose Sharks.

Vancouver was better defensively against Detroit and grabbed the lead against the league's No. 2 penalty-killing unit 1:48 into the second when Edler blasted a one-timer from the top of the faceoff circle past a screened Howard.

"It was a big win, a big two points for us. We played pretty good," said Edler, whose four goals this season have all come with the man advantage. "It's a tough team to play and we battled hard. We got a couple (goals) on special teams. That was big."

The Red Wings started to push back as the period wore on, with Ryan Miller stopping a couple chances from Pavel Datsyuk, including a nice glove save on a redirection off the rush.

Detroit got a power play early in the third, and Miller made two more big stops on Datsyuk that had fans at Rogers Arena chanting "Miller! Miller!"

Canucks captain Henrik Sedin then broke in on a short-handed breakaway that Howard saved with his pad.

Detroit got a brief 5-on-3 advantage when Daniel Sedin went off for hooking and Miller made two more big saves on Stephen Weiss towards then end of the second penalty with his team still down a man.

The Vancouver goalie was at it again with 8 1/2 minutes left in the third, shooting out his pad to stop Tomas Jurco from the slot.

"Again there's some big saves by the goaltender," said Desjardins. "One of those goes in and your penalty killing doesn't seem that good, but Miller was good."

The Canucks doubled the lead on the power play at 9:11 when Vrbata buried his own rebound past a down-and-out Howard for his 16th of the season and third in as many games.

Vancouver gave up two late goals in Thursday's loss, and Tatar made the Canucks sweat when he scored his 16th of the season with 3:30 to go in the third and Howard on the bench for an extra attacker.

But the Canucks sealed it when Henrik Sedin scored his seventh of the season into an empty net for his milestone goal with 1:51 left on the clock before adding another with 31.2 seconds remaining.

"Even after they scored their goal there was no panic on the bench," he said. "We kept playing the way we had throughout the game so I think we showed a lot of composure."

Notes: Canucks forward Zack Kassian suited up for the first time since Nov. 25. The 23-year-old missed 13 games with a broken finger before sitting out one more as a healthy scratch on Thursday. Kassian took the place of Linden Vey, who has just two assists in the last 12 games. ... Canucks tough guy Tom Sestito cleared waivers and has been assigned to the AHL's Utica Comets. ... The Canucks continue their five-game homestand on Tuesday against the New York Islanders. ... The Red Wings opened a six-game road trip with just their second game outside the Eastern time zone in 2014-15. Detroit visits the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday.

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