VANCOUVER -- Ryan Miller has always been a perfectionist.
The Vancouver Canucks goaltender will spend hours fidgeting with every aspect of his equipment, even driving an hour out of his way after a recent Stanley Cup Playoff practice to visit a hockey store in search of new options. The same thing goes for his game and style tweaks made in his first season with Canucks goaltending coach Roland Melanson.
Miller is meticulous in his preparation, but it wasn't possible for him to take his usual approach given he was a late entry into an emotionally charged Western Conference First Round series against the Calgary Flames.
Coming off a right-knee injury that kept him out most of two months, Miller came on in relief of Eddie Lack in Game 4 on Tuesday, and then made his first playoff start with the Canucks on Thursday with Vancouver down 3-1 in the best-of-7 series. Forget no margin for error -- Miller had little of the timing and rhythm his game has relied on for so long. His knee wasn't even 100 percent.
For an admitted perfectionist, it was far from ideal.
"Oh yeah, I felt that," Miller said. "It's an odd situation for me not to have the flow and timing. You generally get this deep into the season and you have a lot of games under your belt. I am just trying to take the approach it's all about the mentality at this point. It's not about timing. It's not about the physical side of things. It's all about mentally: Can I get into the fight, and how long can I stay there?"