Colin Miller 'playing some of his best hockey' in last few games

Colin Miller 'playing some of his best hockey' in last few games

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. 


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. 

Bruins clinch playoff berth in 2-1 OT loss to Blues

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Bruins clinch playoff berth in 2-1 OT loss to Blues

Jaden Schwartz scored his second goal of the game 30 seconds into overtime to give the St. Louis Blues a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night.

Schwartz skated up the middle and fired a shot past Anton Khudobin. The Blues won for the fifth time in six games to move within a point of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

Jake Allen made 21 saves to improve to 24-21-2.

Ryan Donato scored for Boston. The Bruins clinched a playoff spot and moved within four points of Tampa Bay for the Eastern lead.

Schwartz tied it midway through the third period with a wrist shot from the top of the circle.

Donato scored his second goal in his second NHL game. He had a goal and two assists in a 5-4 loss to Columbus on Monday night.

Donato, still a student at Harvard University, returned to Massachusetts on Tuesday to attend class before flying back to St. Louis to rejoin the Bruins. His father, Ted, played 528 games in two stints with the Bruins (1992-99, 2003-04).

Donato, who played for the U.S. Olympic team last month, drilled a shot past Allen. A clearing attempt by Alex Piertrangelo hit referee Brad Watson and the pick bounced right to Donato.

Boston, which has a game in hand on Tampa Bay, joined Nashville and Tampa Bay as only teams to have clinched playoff spots.


Boston was without seven key players:- C Patrice Bergeron (fractured left foot), D Charlie McAvoy (left knee), D Zdeno Chara (upper body), LW Jake DeBrusk (upper body), RW David Backes (right leg laceration), D Torey Krug (upper body) and LW Rick Nash (upper body). They have combined for 101 goals and 161 assists.

NOTES:- St. Louis RW Vladimir Tarasenko missed his second successive game after taking an elbow to the face against the New York Rangers on Saturday. ... The Bruins have least one point in 12 of their last 15 games against St. Louis. ... Only three Boston players - RW David Pastrnak, C Tim Schaller and C Sean Kuraly - have played in every game this season.


Bruins: At Dallas on Friday night in the second game of a four-game trip.

Blues: Host Vancouver on Friday night.

Krug steps up as Bruins stars go down

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Krug steps up as Bruins stars go down

The Bruins have managed to take three of a possible six points since Zdeno Chara went down in the third period of last week's comeback win over the Carolina Hurricanes, and they've done it completely without their top pairing since Charlie McAvoy has also been out all this time.

There are a number of factors behind the ability to withstand the injuries, of course, and the entire defense corps was stellar at both ends in the shutout win over Tampa Bay last weekend.


But it's Torey Krug who's really stepped up his game. He had three assists and 15 shots on net in those three games, and was immense in the win over the Lightning.

Krug has surpassed the 50-point plateau for the second straight season, a major accomplishment for a defenseman who prides himself on his puck-moving and power-play work.

"You know, he has [stepped up]," coach Bruce Cassidy said of Krug, adding: "Torey is always going to get his numbers, but he's really added to it 5-on-5 . . . [It] was comforting to see that [without Chara and McAvoy] we shut out one of the best teams [in the NHL], at home, that was rested. You've got to take something out of that. It was one of 82 [games], but that was a real positive for our guys."

For Krug, the challenge of stepping up and being a leader in the team's time of need is the kind of thing he takes pride in responding to with an elevated level of play.

"I'm in the business of winning hockey games and helping my team win," said Krug. "It falls on my shoulders to produce some offense from the back end. And [when] we're missing a couple of guys from the back end that do that push the pace, then you've got to step up and make some plays. When you play with a lot of great players then you'll get your points, and you just need to worry about the defensive zone first.

"We're confident in everybody in this room. A lot of people think that the guys on our back end can't get the job done, so for us to step up [is a good thing]."


The biggest sign of Krug's increased responsibility? He topped 26 minutes of ice time in two of the three games since Chara was injured. Only once before, when he was on the ice for 27-plus minutes against the Rangers in early November, has he played more than that.

The loss of Chara and McAvoy has forced Krug to go above and beyond his normal range of duties and he's stepped up and embraced it. That's what good players on good teams do, and it's something Krug has consistently done in the big moments since arriving in Boston five years ago.