BRIGHTON, Mass – The Boston Bruins continue to soldier through rough patch when it comes to blueline injuries as Kevan Miller won’t be able to play again on Thursday night against the New York Islanders.
The good news is that Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said the issue wasn’t related to his troublesome knees and was instead something he woke up with on Thursday morning.
“Kevan Miller is out. He woke up with an issue today that’s not related to his knee surgery,” said Cassidy of Miller, who the Bruins are attempting to keep healthy by limiting his practice ice time and holding him out of halves of back-to-back games. “So, he won’t play tonight, so we’ve got a decision to make tonight in that regard.”
Perhaps Miller’s right hand is a little sore after busting up Tage Thompson’s face with a right-handed punch that people were still talking about days later?
Either way, the Boston Bruins have really come to miss Miller’s intimidating presence, his toughness, his leadership and his veteran poise on the back end when he’s missing this season. Tonight, against the Islanders it will be no different.
“It’s actually incredible the way he’s come back this year with what he’s gone through and the time that he’s missed,” said Brad Marchand. “He almost looks better than he ever has with how strong he is and how he competes.
“He’s just such a hard player to play against, and he gives us so much energy and confidence back there. He really just controls the D-corps back there and makes a lot of guys feel comfortable back there. He calms them down when things aren’t going great. He’s a real leader in our group. He just has such a presence on the ice. Guys [on the other team] don’t want to go anywhere near him.”
With Miller’s absence from the lineup, it’s expected that Steve Kampfer is going to come into the lineup and Jake Zboril will replace Jarred Tinordi on the left side after serving as a healthy scratch in Tuesday night’s shootout win over Buffalo. Cassidy left room to make it a game time decision when it comes to Tinordi or Kampfer, but that Zboril was definitely in and Miller was definitely out for the D-corps against the Islanders.
Tuukka Rask came through the week of practice without any issues as well and will be manning the pipes for just the second time since March 7 while dealing with suspected back injuries. The Bruins are expected to go with the same lineup up front after pushing for a couple goals in regulation and two more in the shootout in Tuesday’s win over the Sabres.
Here are the projected Bruins lineup against the Islanders with Miller out, and Zboril and Rask in for the Black and Gold: