Miller has 36 saves to lift Canucks over Kings 2-1

Ryan Miller had an easy time in the first period Wednesday night. The same can’t be said of the final 40 minutes.

Miller made 36 saves and the Vancouver Canucks edged the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 in the first game for both teams following the NHL’s Christmas break.

The goalie was unbeatable until late in the third period as the Kings outshot the Canucks 37-20 — including 31-8 over the final two periods.

“The first period was nice,” Miller said. “We were above the puck. They didn’t have too much as far as odd-man rushes. There weren’t 2-on-1s or 3-on-2s. It was a clean game as far as that goes and that’s the kind of game you have to have to beat L.A.”

The Canucks (15-18-3) earned their second win in the past five games. The Kings (17-14-4) lost for the fourth time in five games.

Loui Eriksson and Henrik Sedin scored for the Canucks, who converted one of three power-play opportunities while denying the Kings on two.

“It’s nice to come out here after the Christmas break and get the win,” Eriksson said. “I thought we played pretty well. It’s a good team we were playing. Millsy made some great saves for us.”

Tanner Pearson scored for Los Angeles. Peter Budaj took the loss while stopping 18 shots.

Vancouver’s goals came early in each of the first two periods.

“You never want to get down that quick behind the 8-ball, and we just couldn’t bury that second one at the end of the game,” Pearson said.

Eriksson opened the scoring on a power play 2:43 into the game as he skated the puck out of the corner and beat Budaj with a shot to the far…

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