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Kevan Miller to Miss Rest of Road Trip

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

LEDUC, Alta. - Defenseman Kevan Miller was absent from Tuesday's practice at the Leduc Rec Centre, after the Bruins traveled from Calgary to Edmonton.

"He’s gone back home to be evaluated," said Head Coach Claude Julien. "That’s the update. He flew back today, so we haven’t heard anything else from that."

Miller left Monday night's game against the Flames during the second period, and did not return.

Julien clarified that Miller had re-injured his right shoulder. The defensemen first sustained the shoulder injury back on Oct. 18 against Buffalo.

"I don’t know to what extent his shoulder injury is, so that’s why he’s gone back home," said the bench boss. "It definitely is bad enough, so he’s not going to play the rest of this trip."

The Bruins have three games remaining on their road trip, in Edmonton, St. Louis and Chicago.

Following Boston's game in Calgary, Julien had said in regards to Miller, "we'll see what comes out of it, but it doesn't look good."

The blueliner's shoulder had been holding up prior to Monday night. On Feb. 7, he told reporters in Boston that there were "ups and downs, but it's been all right so far and still kind of progressing, so it's been good."

Given the stay-at-home defenseman's hard-nosed style, he had adapted this game upon returning from the shoulder injury that kept him out for 12 games and about a month of action as he recovered.

At the time, Miller had been anticipating that he may need a repair in the offseason.

"I think so. I'm not - that's kind of up to the management as well and we're going to have to discuss at the end of the season," he had said. "But it's something that a lot of guys go through, and some guys have surgery, some guys don't, so that's something we'll revisit at the end of the season I think."

Stayed tuned for the latest update on Miller after his evaluation back in Boston.

Subban to Make NHL Debut

Malcolm Subban joined the Bruins for practice on Tuesday after being recalled from the Providence Bruins. He's going to make his NHL debut at some point during the trip, but Julien did not confirm whether the debut would come against the Oilers or not.

The Bruins' head coach did say that the goaltender against Edmonton would be either Subban or Tuukka Rask.

"I haven’t sat down and talked to Peter about how we’re going to move forward here," said Julien of the decision to be made. "I think it’s important that we make a decision here as a group, in that situation, because of where we are — whether we have our best goaltender, and the guy we’ve been riding, or whether we go with Malcolm here."

"So I’m not going to give you an answer here because I haven’t discussed it with him, and I think it needs to be a group decision."

Niklas Svedberg rounds out the three goalies currently on Boston's roster, but he will not be suiting up against the Oilers.

When Subban does get into action, he's excited for the opportunity, especially having spent a week practicing with the big club earlier this month.

"It's pretty cool, but just trying to treat it like any other day - obviously try and keep a level head and just stay focused right now," said a soft-spoken Subban. "And be ready for my opportunity."

His current teammates are anticipating the debut as well.

"He’s definitely great to be around, and he’s a funny guy — he wants to learn" said alternate captain Patrice Bergeron. "He’s very respectful, also, so he’s been great so far. I’m hearing only good things about him in Providence as well, and you can tell he wants to get better and he wants to be here, at some point. So we’ll see what happens."

Rest for Rask?

Rask has appeared in 23 of the Bruins' last 24 games, with 22 of those being starts. As the Bruins come up on a busy month of March, they'll need his strong play, but also support between the pipes.

"That’s why we’ve got the situation right now - we’ve got three goaltenders, got lots of choices, so we know you can ride a goaltender for so long," said Julien. "And some guys can be durable — I think that’s where Tuukka has really impressed a lot of people, is his durability. Over these years, he’s gotten better and better all the time, and I know his first few years, you could sense the fatigue."

"Right now, even in talking to him, he feels good. He feels fresh, and we’ve been able to ride him because of that. But at some point, we’ve got to give him some rest, and keep him as fresh as you can."

Rask hasn't necessarily felt the fatigue impact his play.

"I don't know. Maybe at some levels," said Rask. "I don't really feel bad. I've played good and obviously it's mentally challenging and you try to get as much rest as possible and even physically too."

"But I feel like sometimes the more tired you get, the better you play because you just don't have energy to overthink things, and I think that's been the case."

Pivotal Point

The Bruins will entered Wednesday night's game against the Oilers having lost four straight games, and having allowed 14 goals in their past three games alone.

More importantly, they have started their 11-day, five-game road trip off with back-to-back losses. With the point they picked up in Calgary, a win on Wednesday would put them back at .500 on the trip.

"We’ve got to give ourselves a real good chance to put ourselves in that position," said Julien. "We know the Oilers are playing much better lately, and we’ve seen it, we’ve witnessed it. In our situation, we also know the way we’ve been playing that it’s not going to be an easy one."

The Black and Gold have to put forth a 60-minute effort, executing the game plan and getting pucks deep in behind the Oilers defensemen to wear them out down low.

"Really important," said Bergeron, of the pivotal midpoint game of the trip. "I think right now, we’re at this stage where we look at the standings, and we look at where we’re at with our team, and it’s definitely about the next game, and [Wednesday's] a really important game for us."

Tuesday's Practice Lineup Feb. 17

White Jerseys: Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Reilly Smith

Gold: Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Loui Eriksson

Gray: Chris Kelly - Carl Soderberg - David Pastrnak

Burgundy: Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Craig Cunningham - Jordan Caron

Defense: Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, Matt Bartkowski

Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Niklas Svedberg, Malcolm Subban

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