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Miller, Canucks cruise past Sharks

Dec 31, 2014 - 6:44 AM San Jose, CA ( - Ryan Miller made 31 saves as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the San Jose Sharks, 3-1, on Tuesday.

Bo Horvat, Jannik Hansen and Radim Vrbata all scored for the Canucks, who have won three of their last four games.

"We needed a strong effort tonight," said Hansen. "These are extremely valuable points in our division."

Miller has now won his last seven starts against the Sharks and has won 9- of-11 career games when facing them.

San Jose's lone goal came on Joe Thornton's successful penalty shot and Alex Stalock allowed all three goals on 21 shots in his team's third straight loss.

"I didn't think we were particularly any good and the score indicated that," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said. "Right now we aren't reaching deep enough."

Vancouver struck first as Derek Dorsett flipped a bouncing puck through the slot and Horvat's turnaround shot from the left circle went off a San Jose defender and trickled over the goal line 3:08 into the game.

Joe Pavelski was awarded a penalty shot after being hauled down by Alexander Edler less than eight minutes into the first period, but the opportunity was wasted as he rang a shot off the crossbar.

Hansen was assessed a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head less than a minute into the second, but once his penalty expired, he raced out of the box and beat Stalock with a wrister for a 2-0 lead.

Under two minutes later, the Sharks were handed another penalty shot and Thornton didn't miss as his wrister rang off the left post and into the net.

The Canucks regained their two-goal cushion as Vrbata settled Henrik Sedin's cross-ice pass and ripped a shot over Stalock's shoulder at 7:09 of the middle stanza.

Miller stopped nine shots in the third to seal the win.

Game Notes

San Jose's eight-game home winning streak came to an end. It was the team's first loss at SAP Center since Nov. 26 against Calgary ... Sharks forward Matt Nieto was activated from injured reserve and played his first game since Dec. 4 after missing nine games with an ankle injury ... Vancouver improved to 10-2-2 against fellow Pacific Division members ... The two teams will resume their season series on Feb. 5 in Vancouver.