Boston Bruins‘ defenseman Kevan Miller will miss at least Game 5 with an upper-body injury after taking a late and high hit from Washington Capitals‘ defenseman Dmitry Orlov almost halfway through the second period of Friday night’s Game 4.
The check occurred after Miller brought the puck into Washington’s zone. Miller then passed the puck to his left Nick Ritchie. Miller would then be hit late and up high by Orlov. Orlov actually had to jump into the check, leaving his feet, so he would not miss Miller and be out of position.
Orlov was, at first, handed a five-minute major for the check. But the hit was reviewed and decreased to a double-minor for roughing. This was obviously the wrong call as the hit was roughing, charging, and high all in one. But that argument is for another article.
Miller ended up missing the remainder of Game 4 as he would be brought to a nearby hospital for further testing. He remained at the hospital overnight and is now at home as of Saturday morning. Per head coach Bruce Cassidy, Miller will miss Game 5 in Washington.
Which defenseman replaces Kevan Miller for the Boston Bruins?
While many thought Steve Kampfer may be the first option, he’s actually going to the KHL and is unavailable. As for Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril, they’re both injured and unavailable.
This leaves Tinordi and Vaakanainen. Both of these options could spell disaster for the B’s.
While Tinordi brings the size and physicality of Miller, he fails to bring the same skating and puck moving ability of Miller — which the B’s need against an aggressive and physical team like Washington.
Vaakanainen is a better skater than Tinordi, but that really isn’t saying much. Vaakanainen also isn’t very physical, he’s more about positioning and using his stick to break up plays rather than using his body.
With Miller out of the lineup and Tinordi or Vaakanainen in, the B’s defense can fall out of rhythm, leading to several mistakes and bad plays. This could cost the Black and Gold the series and end their Stanley Cup hopes.
Ultimately, Miller was playing well (besides a couple of brain farts that cost the B’s some goals). Losing his experience, physicality, and ability to move the puck will be huge for Boston. Hopefully Clifton can continue his strong play. He’s going to need to be at his best if he’s going to be playing alongside Tinordi or Vaakanainen.