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Miller gets big saves late, Higgins scores in shootout to lift Canucks to 5-4 win over Oilers

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Ryan Miller came up big when it counted most in his home debut with the Vancouver Canucks.

The veteran goalie shook off a couple of bad goals, making big saves in the third period and overtime before stopping all three attempts in the shootout as the Canucks beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-4 Saturday night.

Signed as free agent in the offseason to provide a calm influence in the Vancouver crease after years of goaltending controversy, Miller battled to keep his team in the game after going down 4-2 midway through the second period.

"It's a nice way to finish. The boys worked real hard and bailed me out," he said. "It's going to take all different ways this year so it's good to see they all stuck together and weren't fazed by a couple tough goals.

"It wasn't how I envisioned it going, but I'm happy to get a win and to contribute."

Chris Higgins scored the only goal of the shootout, beating Viktor Fasth with a quick shot in the third round before Miller stopped Benoit Pouliot on Edmonton's final chance to secure the win.

"That was the loudest I've heard the crowd in quite some time," Higgins said. "It was a fun game to play in. They were rocking tonight and we fed off it in the second and third especially."

Miller was disappointed by goals scored by Edmonton's Nail Yakupov and Jesse Joensuu in the second period, but was grateful his teammates gave him a chance to redeem himself.

"You end up tied late in a game, it doesn't matter how you get there," said Miller, who finished with 25 saves. "You've got to contribute and I thought the boys were skating well all night. I had to hang in there and make the adjustments and just not let the first and second period linger too long in my head."

Henrik Sedin and Radim Vrbata each had a goal and an assist for Vancouver, and Nick Bonino and Linden Vey picked up their first goals with the Canucks. Daniel Sedin added three assists.

Mark Arcobello had a goal and an assist for Edmonton, and Brad Hunt also scored. Fasth finished with 37 saves through overtime, and Teddy Purcell and David Perron each had two assists.

PHOTO: Vancouver Canucks center Brad Richardson (15) fights for control of the puck with Edmonton Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry (2) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, British Columbia, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)
Vancouver Canucks center Brad Richardson (15) fights for control of the puck with Edmonton Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry (2) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, British Columbia, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)

Vey beat Fasth in the five-hole to tie the score at 4-all at 7:06 of the third period. It was Vancouver's second goal in seven power-play chances in the game.

Miller made a big save on Taylor Hall's attempt with about 9 minutes to go in regulation. He also had a couple of good stops on the Oilers' late power play.

"He made a couple stops real late and the shootout, for sure was awesome," said Canucks coach Willie Desjardins, who also made his home debut. "He's a good goaltender. That's what we expect from him. There might be some jitters opening day, but he was real good when we needed him."

The teams traded chances in overtime, with the Canucks outshooting the Oilers 41-29 overall after Edmonton held a 10-5 edge after 20 minutes.

"I really liked Viktor's game," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "There was a couple crazy ones that bounced on the way, but he was really solid and kept us in it, especially in overtime."

Yakupov stretched Edmonton's lead to 3-1 at 2:22 of the second off the rush, beating Miller through the pads.

Bonino pulled the Canucks within a goal 2:04 later when he tipped a shot by defenseman Dan Hamhuis. The Oilers complained that a hand pass from Vancouver's Alexandre Burrows helped set up the goal, and replays suggested they had a case. Burrows was eventually credited with an assist on the play.

Hall was then assessed a four-minute penalty for high sticking, but it was Edmonton that initially capitalized when Joensuu moved in on a short-handed breakaway and beat Miller with a backhand at 8:36.

Vancouver responded on the same power play when Daniel Sedin took a pass at the side of the net and found Vrbata, who made it 4-3.

The Oilers opened the scoring on their first shot of the night when Hunt scored on a one-timer off the crossbar and in on the power play for his first NHL goal at 5:41 of the first.

Edmonton made it 2-0 at 10:31 off a 3-on-2 break when Purcell fed Arcobello with a back-door pass through Miller's crease that the Oilers' forward tapped in.

The Canucks pulled within one when Daniel Sedin fired a shot that his twin brother Henrik tipped past Fasth with just 9.9 seconds left in the opening period.

Notes: Daniel Sedin's assist in the first period was the 500th of his career. ... In a scheduling quirk, the Canucks don't play again until Friday when they meet the Oilers in Edmonton. ... The Oilers' next game is Tuesday at the defending champion Los Angeles Kings before they visit the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday. ... Canucks D Christopher Tanev was in the lineup after missing the last two days of practice with an undisclosed injury.

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PHOTO: Vancouver Canucks center Nick Bonino (13) tries to get a shot past Edmonton Oilers goaltender Viktor Fasth (35) during the second period of NHL action in Vancouver, British Columbia Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)
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