MONTREAL – Defenseman Kevan Miller joined the team in Montreal on Friday but won’t be in Bruins lineup on Saturday night against the Canadiens at the Bell Centre and will miss his third game in a row after being “under the weather” earlier this week.
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Miller’s absence has allowed Adam McQuaid to step back into the lineup and play with an impressive lack of rust. McQuaid’s gritty, hungry performance in the past two games combined with the lack of a practice day of Friday led to Bruce Cassidy’s decision to hold Miller out for at least one more game.
Clearly, it’s going to be a tough decision when Cassidy has to make out the lineup card Tuesday night against the New Jersey Devils, assuming that all goes well in their final showdown with the Habs in the last of their three meetings in an eight-day stretch.
“[Miller] is feeling better, but we’re going to stick with the lineup for the last two games,” said Cassidy. “[McQuaid] has been very steady. Good on the kill, making the simple plays defends well and plays hard. He’s actually added an offensive dimension from the O-zone blue line, and clearly, he’s been working on it during his time out. It shows, so good for him.
“It’s difficult, but I talked to Kevan about it. He hasn’t really had a full practice. We’re going well. I don’t think it will be a long-term thing, but I make no promises with our lineup about what it’s going to look like on Tuesday. He understands. Adam went through it. It’s a little bit of that competition thing up and down our lineup, and it’s also the benefit of giving him a couple more days [to recover] as well.”
One thing that could happen, perhaps, is a healthy scratch for 20-year-old Brandon Carlo, who has been up-and-down in his second NHL season. He’s got five assists and a plus-9 in 44 games for the Bruins as a stay-at-home partner with Torey Krug. Carlo as appeared tentative at times at both ends of the ice after playing with a really confident air last season.
That being said, his performance certainly hasn’t been bad considering his job is to hold things together defensively while on ice with a high-risk player in Krug. It’s going to be a tough decision for Cassidy, who will probably be second-guessed no matter what he does.
Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings vs. the Canadiens based on the Saturday morning skate at the Bell Centre: