By Aaron Bracy, The Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA – By keeping things simple, Ryan Miler has had success while playing sick.
Miller returned from a two-game illness absence and made 29 saves, and Henrik Sedin had a goal and an assist to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.
“If you’re thinking too much out there, you’re overcommitting, you’re overplaying,” Miller said. “When you’re not feeling great, you settle it down.
“I think my dad has seen me play really good hockey when I’m sick ever since I was a kid.”
Nick Bonino, Radim Vrbata and Jannik Hansen also scored for Vancouver, which snapped a three-game losing streak and broke out of a scoring slump. The Canucks tallied just two goals during their skid.
“We needed to get back in the win column,” Hansen said. “If you lose one or two in a row, that’s not good. Three, that’s starting trouble. We needed to get back on the winning track to keep up with the other teams.”
It was Miller’s fourth shutout this season and 33rd of his NHL career. He returned to the net after missing two games due to illness. Miller improved to 5-2-1 with a 1.63 goals-against average in his last eight games.
“I kept everything really simple, and when they did get loose I was able to get a good read on the shots,” Miller said.
Philadelphia dropped its second straight and fell further out of playoff contention. The Flyers entered Thursday 11 points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Flyers coach Craig Berube was disappointed with his team’s response after surrendering the opening goal.
“The thing that bothers me is it’s only 1-0. There’s a lot of hockey left,” Berube said. “Compete, play and work. That’s the thing you can control, how hard you work and how hard you compete, and we stopped doing that.”
The Canucks scored two goals within 24 seconds of the second period.
Vrbata’s wrist shot from the right circle beat Ray Emery high on the stick side on the power play to put Vancouver up 3-0 just 2:21 into the period.
Berube pulled Emery and replaced him with 33-year-old rookie Rob Zepp, who was playing in his fourth career game.
Zepp, who started over Emery in place of injured Steve Mason (lower body) in the last two games, promptly surrendered Hansen’s breakaway goal with 18:17 left in the period that made it 4-0. It was Hansen’s 10th goal of the season but first in seven games.
Mason was injured Saturday in a loss to Boston and is expected to miss two weeks.
Miller made several outstanding saves in the period, snaring Luke Schenn’s wrist shot from point-blank range with 13 1/2 minutes left and reaching out to rob Pierre-Edouard Bellemare 1 1/2 minutes later with another strong glove save. He extended a pad to deny Nick Schultz’s slap shot with 10:35 left.
“He made a couple of unbelievable saves,” Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said. “If those go in, it’s a different hockey game.”
Miller had been winless in his last five trips to Philadelphia, but he improved to 4-7 in 12 games at the Wells Fargo Center since the 2010-11 season.
“That was on my mind a little bit,” Miller said. “They’ve rained on my picnics a few times. We needed to get a win, and it’s nice to give them a little bit of a knock. They’ve gotten me plenty of times.”
Vancouver jumped on the board with a pair of first-period goals. Bonino spun around from the right circle and whizzed a wrist shot past Emery’s glove hand with 13:25 left. Sedin neatly deflected brother Daniel’s shot from the point over Emery’s right shoulder on the power play with 6:39 remaining.
“As soon as they saw one go in, I think their confidence went up a little bit,” Miller said. “It’s good to see the guys get rewarded for playing pretty well.”
NOTES: Philadelphia C Scott Laughton (upper body) didn’t play after being injured Wednesday during a 1-0 loss at Washington. … The Flyers dropped to 2-6-1 in the second of back-to-back games this season. … Vancouver next plays the third game of a five-game trip at Carolina on Friday. … Philadelphia was shut out in consecutive games for the first time since April 1-3, 2014.