Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko stops St. Louis Blues’ Zach Sanford during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver on Monday January 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

First-place Canucks beat Blues 3-1 for ninth straight home win

Miller nets pair as Vancouver defeats Cup champs

VANCOUVER — J.T. Miller scored a pair of second-period goals as the Vancouver Canucks fought back from an early deficit to defeat the St. Louis Blues 3-1 Monday night.

Bo Horvat also scored into an empty net for the Canucks (28-18-4) who won for the 12th time in 15 games and extended their home winning streak to nine games. Jake Virtanen and Chris Tanev each had two assists.

Zach Sanford scored for the Blues (30-12-8), who saw their winless streak extended to three games (0-2-1).

Miller has 48 points (19 goals, 29 assists) in 50 games this season. That’s better than the 47 points, including 13 goals, he had in 75 games with Tampa Bay last year.

Vancouver goaltender Thatcher Demko, making his second straight start and fourth in the last 20 games, stopped 36 shots.

St. Louis goalie Jake Allen made 22 saves.

The Canucks remain first in the Pacific Division with 60 points, three more than Edmonton, Calgary, Arizona and Vegas.

The defending Stanley Cup champion Blues lead the Western Conference with 68 points.

With the Blues pushing for the tying goal in the third period Demko made a huge left pad save on Jaden Schwartz. He later blocked Sanford on the short side.

Miller’s first goal tied the game 1-1 at 2:16 of the second. Virtanen won a puck battle along the boards, then passed to Tanev, who fed an open Miller in the slot before he rifled a low, hard shot.

Vancouver went ahead 2-1 at 11:12 on a 3-on-1 break. Elias Pettersson carried the puck into the St. Louis zone, slid the puck to Virtanen, who then passed to Miller. He scored from the face-off circle.

The Blues took advantage of a turnover to open the scoring at 3:06 of the first period after rookie defenceman Quinn Hughes coughed up the puck in his own zone. David Perron took it, swooped behind the net, then passed to Sanford who scored his fifth of the season.

Vancouver had a couple of good chances to tie the game. Horvat forced a turnover, then had a breakaway but was stopped by Allen. Virtanen had the crowd buzzing after ringing a shot off the post.

READ MORE: Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

NOTES: The Rogers Arena crowd gave a standing ovation and players banged their sticks on the ice during a play stoppage in the first period to honour NBA star Kobe Bryant who died in a helicopter crash Sunday. … The Canucks’ Antoine Roussel played in his 500th NHL game. … There were 18 scouts in attendance. … With Hughes appearing in the NHL All-Star game the Canucks become the first team in the expansion era to have a rookie in three consecutive all-star games. … Defenceman Colton Parayko returned to the St. Louis lineup after missing seven games with an upper-body injury. … The Blues announced Monday they have waived forward Troy Brouwer, who had one goal in 10 games.

Jim Morris, The Canadian Press

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