BOSTON – It’s been impossible to this point for Colin Miller to stick in a Bruins lineup where inconsistencies in his game have seen the 24-year-old bounce between suiting up for the B’s or serving as a healthy scratch.
Miller has been scratched nine times in 33 games for the Bruins this season, but it might be a while before he’s taken out of the lineup if he can continue to play as he has over the last couple of games. Miller continued his strong play of late by notching the primary assist on Boston’s only goal in a 1-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday afternoon at TD Garden. It was Miller’s bomb from the right point that Jimmy Hayes was able to deflect with the shaft of his stick while camped out in front, and get past Peter Budaj for the game’s only goal.
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The assist-creating shot was one of a couple of good chances for Miller where he was able to feature his heavy, hard shot from the point, and able to get it in the area of the net where it can do some offensive damage.
“Today and last game I really thought Colin has really played some of his best hockey in the last couple games. It’s nice to see that and we’re hoping that’s what is to come because he’s been really good playing the way he has,” said Claude Julien. “He’s assertive, he’s moving the puck, and he’s skating the puck well. He’s got a good shot, it’s just a matter of making sure that he builds on that and continues to develop in that area and we will be happy with him.”
Some of it is about Miller improving his ability to find shooting lanes when he’s getting ready to unload the puck, and some of it is simply about getting looks on the B’s power play over the last couple of games. It hasn’t led to any PP offense as of yet, but it does allow Miller to get into a little bit more of a shooting groove from the point. That allows the talented blueliner to start gathering a little more offensive confidence and look more like the player that looked so full of promise in the first half of last year’s rookie NHL season.
“It’s been a little better, so it’s been good. I thought the team did a great job today kind of managing a good team over there. We’re happy with a win,” said Miller, who has two goals and five points in 24 games this season. “[More playing time] would be great. I don’t know. I mean we have eight solid defensemen on this team so [healthy scratches] are going to happen, especially with Joe [Morrow] and I being the younger guys. It’s going to happen.
“You just try to be as consistent as you can. I don’t think that’s something I’ve done as often lately but hopefully more [consistency] will continue here.”
If Miller can hone in on that consistency that’s been there against the Ducks and the Kings this week, he might finally be leaving those press box days behind him as somebody whose puck-moving ability and offensive skills dictate that he should be a B’s lineup regular.