Martin Jones' .923 save percentage ranks 14th in the NHL. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)The No.

Colin Miller will be one of eight defensemen available to the Bruins when they face the Sharks on Tuesday night, according to Claude Julien.

Colin Miller

Colin Miller

Colin Miller will be one of eight defensemen available to the Bruins when they face the Sharks on Tuesday night, according to Claude Julien. With the B’€™s holding an optional skate, however, it’€™s unclear whether he will play.

Miller sat out Saturday night’€™s win over the Red Wings due to a minor lower-body injury. He said after Monday’€™s practice that he felt healthy and ready to play.

With Miller absent against the Red Wings, the Bruins went a defensive group of Zdeno Chara, Kevan Miller, Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, Dennis Seidenberg and Zach Trotman on Saturday. Joe Morrow is also healthy, but has been scratched for the Bruins’ last four games.

Prior to sitting on Saturday, Miller had played in 14 straight games since being a health scratch in the Bruins’€™ season-opener against the Jets. Miller has one goal and seven assists for eight points on the season, including a six-game point streak that ended earlier this month.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Zac Rinaldo is killing penalties instead of taking them. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)Zac Rinaldo is very confident in himself. He believes he can be a regular NHL player. He believes in his speed.

Colin Miller

Colin Miller

Colin Miller feels ready to return to the Bruins’€™ lineup, but it’€™s unclear whether that will be the case on Tuesday when the B’€™s host the Sharks.

Miller was kept out of Saturday’€™s lineup with a lower-body injury, though Claude Julien intimated the injury was minor. Miller took part in Monday’€™s practice and said that he

“I feel good,” Miller said. “I feel fine, so we’€™ll see come tomorrow what happens.”

Prior to sitting on Saturday, Miller had played in 14 straight games for the Bruins. Now that Dennis Seidenberg is healthy, however, Miller is one of eight options the Bruins have on defense, with both Joe Morrow and Zach Trotman seeing ample time in the press box.

The Bruins clearly do not have their six defensemen set in stone, so as Claude Julien continues to rotate guys in and out of the lineup on defense, it wouldn’€™t be outside the realm of possibility for Julien to sit Miller an extra game even if he’€™s healthy enough to play.

“I think it depends on circumstances,” Julien said. “It depends on if guys are playing well, it’€™s fine [to play them], if there’€™s guys that aren’€™t playing as well and you think a guy can come in and help, you’€™re going to make those decisions. I don’€™t think it’€™s necessarily a clear decision on my part.”

Miller has played well enough to stay in the lineup, however, just as Morrow had before being taken out of the lineup recently. With Trotman having sat for 11 straight games before getting back into game action earlier this month, the numbers game on a not-so-good blue line figures to put some of Boston’€™s young defensemen in the press box more often than they might deserve it.

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Torey Krug celebrates his first goal of the season. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Torey Krug celebrates his first goal of the season. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

On his 44th shot on goal of the season, Torey Krug finally scored his first goal. Dating back to last season, it was his first goal in 27 games, ending the longest drought of his young career.

If Krug were a forward, this would all be a pretty big deal. Given that he’€™s an offensive defensemen who has scored 26 goals over the last two season, it’€™s still at least noteworthy. Krug insists he wasn’€™t giving the drought much thought, though.

“I wasn’€™t really too worried about it, especially with a few more minutes being played,” Krug said. “My number one job is always defense and that’€™s been good so far. I can always improve, but it’€™s nice to get the first one.”

Krug is right, of course. Even if he is an offensive defenseman, he is still, first and foremost, a defenseman. In the past, it was easy to overlook that fact. Krug was often used in situations that catered to his strengths and shielded his question marks (he got a lot of offensive zone starts and faced mostly third and fourth lines), so his defensive game wasn’€™t exactly facing tough tests.

This season has been different, though. Krug hasn’€™t been nearly as sheltered as he has been in the past. Given the lack of true top-four defensemen on the Boston blue line, Krug has had to play a bigger role. According to, Krug has an offensive zone start percentage of 53.25 percent this year vs. 59.97 percent last year, and only Zdeno Chara has faced tougher quality of competition among Bruins defensemen. Oh, and Krug is second on the B’€™s in average time on ice (again behind only Chara).

Krug said he has embraced the challenge and pointed out that playing against first and second lines might actually suit his game in a way people wouldn’€™t necessarily notice.

“You go out there and play hockey that is more suitable to my type of game,” Krug said. “Playing against top-two line guys, they think the same way that I think. How hockey should be played ‘€“ it’€™s more fun to play that.”

Krug has been far from perfect in his expanded, tougher role. As Claude Julien pointed out after the game, Krug has had a couple rough games just like everyone else. He has a 47.59 Corsi-for percentage and minus-2.81 relative Corsi-for percentage. For comparison’€™s sake, he was 53.12 percent and plus-2.54 in those same categories last year.

Some dropoff in Krug’€™s possession numbers had to be expected as he moved up in the lineup. On their own, his numbers this year mark a bigger dropoff than anyone would like. But you also have to take into account that Krug has played mostly with Adam McQuaid this season (156 of his 258 5-on-5 minutes entering Saturday were with McQuaid).

McQuaid has never been very good in a top-four role when he’€™s had to move out of his third-pairing comfort zone, and this season hasn’€™t been much different. So it’€™s worth pointing out that Krug’€™s Corsi-for percentage has actually been over 50 percent this season when he’€™s been with someone other than McQuaid. (And by the way, Krug’€™s second-most common partner this season is Kevan Miller, who is a fairly similar player to McQuaid.)

Krug is obviously never going to say anything negative about any defensive partner, and for his part, he pointed out that playing with a more stay-at-home partner allows him to get more involved in the offense. But it’€™s also interesting to think about a pairing of Krug with someone who’€™s more skilled offensively and in transition. Krug said he thinks that could work.

“You can play with both,” Krug said. “I played a little bit with Dougie [Hamilton] last year, not much obviously. This year I’€™ve had some shifts with Colin Miller, who likes to push the puck up a little bit. But I like playing with [McQuaid and Kevan Miller]. They understand how it works. Move the puck up and I’€™m able to join. When those guys are moving the puck north and south, it allows me to jump into the play a little bit more.”

Regardless of who Krug plays with or what his possession numbers are or what kind of minutes he plays, one thing that should be there the rest of the season for Krug is his offense. Conventional wisdom would tell you that Krug hadn’€™t scored before Saturday because he’€™s playing tougher minutes and has to focus on defense more and he’€™s not getting as many chances.

That makes sense, but the numbers don’€™t really back it up. The reality is that Krug is actually taking more shots on goal this season (2.75 per game) than last season (2.63). So he’€™s still getting his chances. They just weren’€™t going in. His goal Saturday night should pave the way for more shots to start going in.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

The Bruins picked up their second home win of the season Saturday. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)Not long ago, beating an OK team playing the second game of a back-to-back in mid-November wouldn’t even move the needle for the Bruins.

DJ Bean and Ken Laird discuss Saturday night's 3-1 home win over the Detroit Red Wings at TD Garden, just Boston's second home win of the year.

The Bruins played well against a decent opponent and won at home. That may not sound like an impressive feat, but a victory like Saturday’€™s 3-1 win over the Red Wings was long overdue.

The Bruins played well against a decent opponent and won at home. That may not sound like an impressive feat, but a victory like Saturday’€™s 3-1 win over the Red Wings was long overdue.

There was no fast start and major letup, but rather a fairly balanced performance that saw the B’€™s control a scoreless first period before eventually breaking through with three goals in the second period.

Boston’€™s defense, which has typically given opponents goals at home, was better. Detroit failed to land a shot on goal in the first six minutes of each of the first two periods. It wasn’€™t until a third-period power play that the Red Wings found the back of the net, which came in the form of a Justin Abdelkader power play goal. Tuukka Rask was strong, keeping his opponents from scoring multiple goals for just the fourth time this season.

The Bruins are now 8-7-1 on the season and 2-5-1 at home. They’€™ll continue their home stand when they host the Sharks at TD Garden on Tuesday.

Here are five more things we learned Saturday:


When teams fail to get pucks to the net the way the Red Wings did on Saturday, it’€™s easy to write off the opposing goaltender’€™s performance. While Saturday was far from Tuukka Rask‘€™s most taxing outing, he did come through with a couple of impressive saves.

The most notable save of the night for Rask came during a scoreless first period, when Brad Marchand wiped out in the offensive zone doing his pull-up move, resulting in the Red Wings going the other way with numbers in their favor. With Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader on a 2-on-1, Rask came across his net to rob Abdelkader to keep the game scoreless. Rask also made a nice kick save on Zetterberg following Bergeron’€™s goal in the second period and a kick save on Riley Sheahan in the third.


Brad Marchand and Torey Krug connected on an impressive second-period goal. Marchand raced through the neutral zone, coming down the right wing with only Mike Green back for Detroit. With Krug trailing, Marchand slow-played it well enough to eventually sent the puck from down low to the high slot, where Krug rifled it past Mrazek to make it a 3-0 game.

The goal was Krug’€™s first of the season, a rather surprising statistic given that Krug has been one of Boston’€™s more consistent players this season.


Speaking of firsts, good on Mike Loftus of the Patriot Ledger for pointing out that Zac Rinaldo’€™s third-period tripping penalty was his first minor penalty of the season. Rinaldo entered Saturday with 25 penalty minutes on the season, all of which came in two games in the form of major penalties and 10-minute misconducts.

The penalty ended up being costly for the B’€™s, as it led to the Red Wings getting on the board with a Justin Abdelkader power play goal. Prior to Abdelkader’€™s goal, the Bruins had killed off six straight penalties dating back to Sunday’€™s win over the Islanders.


After missing Friday’€™s practice, Colin Miller missed Saturday’€™s game with what Claude Julien called a lower-body injury.

The game was Miller’€™s first game out of the lineup since the season opener against Winnipeg. Zach Trotman entered the lineup in place of Miller, with Joe Morrow remaining a healthy scratch for Boston.

In other lineup news, Claude Julien reunited Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron midway through the third period of Saturday’€™s game. Saturday marked Boston’€™s third straight game without its usual first line of Bergeron between Marchand and Brett Connolly, as Marchand was skating on Ryan Spooner’€™s line with Jimmy Hayes.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean