SPORTS

Ryan Miller returns from injury, stops 23 shots as Canucks edge Oilers in OT

04/12/2015 12:53 EDT | Updated 06/16/2015 02:59 EDT
VANCOUVER - The regular season finale for the Vancouver Canucks didn't matter in terms of the team's standing heading into the playoffs. For goalie Ryan Miller, though, the game had plenty of significance.

Miller made 23 saves in his first start in nearly seven weeks and Alex Edler scored in overtime as the Canucks rallied to beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-5 on Saturday.

Vancouver clinched home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs before the puck even dropped Saturday. Winnipeg's 5-1 victory over the Flames earlier in the day gave the Canucks the No. 2 seed in the Pacific Division, with first-round opponent Calgary as the No. 3.

"It really wasn't a game that you would say meant a whole lot. Our position was locked up," said Miller, who injured his knee against the Islanders back on Feb. 22. "But it meant a lot for me because I wanted to get back on track."

Vancouver head coach Willie Desjardin is expected to go with Eddie Lack in Game 1 on Wednesday against Calgary. Lack has been impressive since Miller went down, going 12-6-2 with a 2.36 goals-against average.

Despite allowing five goals, Desjardin liked what he saw in Miller's return.

"I thought he got better as the game went on. He had some real tough shots. I thought for his first game back, he was good."

Sven Baertschi, with two, Daniel Sedin, Kevin Bieksa, and Jannik Hansen also scored for the Canucks, who finish the regular season with 101 points and a 48-29-5 record.

Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, Benoit Pouliot, Taylor Hall and Teddy Purcell scored for Edmonton (24-44-14), which is set to miss the playoffs for the ninth straight season and will finish this year's campaign 28th in the NHL.

Pouliot, who went to the Cup final last season with the New York Rangers, says it's been a tough year with his new team.

"Last year was a very long, very fun year. This year is a totally different story," said Pouliot, who tacked on two assists. "Hopefully next year will be different. (Next year) can be totally opposite, we'll see."

The Oilers opened the scoring at 9:45 when a Linden Vey turnover led to Yakupov's goal. Eleven seconds later Eberle made it 2-0 on a pass from Pouliot.

Vancouver made it 2-1 on a quick tic-tac-toe passing play that ended with Daniel Sedin netting his 20th. Bieksa tied it up early in the second with a wraparound goal, but Hall buried a Pouliot pass at 3:44 to restore the Oilers' lead.

Miller showed his rust at 12:13 when Pouliot fired in a wrist shot but, again, Vancouver came right back as Baertschi scored his first as a Canuck to cut the lead to 4-3.

Late in the second, the Oilers went up 5-3 after a bad Canucks line change and a resulting 3-on-1 ended with Purcell scoring.

Hansen put in Bo Horvat's wraparound attempt six minutes into the third, then Baertschi tied it 5-5 midway through the period. Streaking in alone, he beat Ben Scrivens, who finished with 17 saves.

Edler capped the comeback at 2:29 of overtime after taking a feed on a 2-on-1 with Daniel Sedin.

"It was a 2-on-1 with Danny ... if you put your stick down you're probably going to get the puck," said Edler.

Notes: Vancouver celebrated former Canuck and fan favourite Gino Odjick before the game. Odjick played for Vancouver for parts of eight seasons and participated in 154 fights in his NHL career.

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