DENVER – Ryan Miller used his head with the game on the line.
No, really, his head. Late in the game, the St. Louis goalie craned his neck into the air to block a shot, taking a puck square in the mask.
Anything for a win, especially this late in the season.
Miller stopped 26 shots, and David Backes broke up a scoreless game in the second period, helping the Blues beat the surging Avalanche 2-1 on Saturday in a Central Division showdown.
I’m just trying to fit in, Miller nonchalantly said. I’m not here to save the day or anything.
But he has excelled since being acquired from Buffalo last week. He is 4-0, thanks to plays like he made late in the third period with his team ahead by a goal.
Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog got loose in front, and while falling to one knee, tried to lift a shot past Miller. But the veteran rose up to thwart the shot.
He was just getting warmed up, too, for the division-leading Blues. Miller withstood a furious rally by the Avalanche in the final two minutes after they pulled goalie Semyon Varlamov.
I’m here to become part of this club and work my way in, keep good habits, Miller said. I’ve played a long time and think I have a lot to offer. That’s my job right now.
SENATORS 5, JETS 3: In Winnipeg, Manitoba, Ales Hemsky had three assists in his second game with Ottawa, and the struggling Senators held off Winnipeg.
DEVILS 5, HURRICANES 4: In Newark, N.J., Tuomo Ruutu scored with 6:30 to play against his former teammates, and New Jersey earned the victory after squandering a three-goal lead.
CAPITALS 3, COYOTES 2: In Washington, Troy Brouwer scored a power-play goal off a rebound to cap a rally from a two-goal deficit in the third period for Washington.
BRUINS 4, LIGHTNING 3, SO: In Tampa, Fla., Reilly Smith scored the lone shootout goal in the seventh round to lead Boston.
MAPLE LEAFS 4, FLYERS 3, OT: In Toronto, Joffrey Lupul scored 2:21 into overtime for Toronto, which bounced back after squandering a third-period lead.
BLUE JACKETS 1, PREDATORS 0: In Nashville, Tenn., Artem Anisimov scored with 6:25 remaining in the third period and Sergei Bobrovsky made 28 saves in his third shutout of the season to lead Columbus.
STARS 4, WILD 3: In Dallas, Erik Cole scored on a breakaway with 4:49 to play as Dallas rallies for the win.
Before the game, the Stars retired Mike Modano’s No. 9.