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Miller gets another shot with D-men ailing

BOSTON -- While Bruins defensemen Adam McQuaid (lower body) and Johnny Boychuk (back) continue to rehab their respective injuries, rookie blueliner Kevan Miller will be called into action against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night at TD Garden.

Before we talk about Miller's impact, Bruins coach Claude Julien updated the media Saturday on the status of the two veteran defensemen, saying both will remained sidelined tonight and tomorrow, but the good news is both will travel with the team on its next four-game road trip.

Meanwhile, Miller is ready.

The 26-year-old defenseman was called up from Providence of the AHL and made his NHL debut with the Bruins on Nov. 21 against the St. Louis Blues. During his first recall, he played a total of three games (healthy scratch for one) before he was assigned to the P-Bruins, where he played three games until his latest promotion.

"It's been a good ride," he said. "Right away, it was kind of a blur when I was up the first time. I went down [to Providence] play a few games and collect my thoughts and come back up. It's been a wild three weeks. I'm just looking forward to tonight."

Since the start of training camp, even before that, Bruins coach Claude Julien has praised Miller's game and preparation on and off the ice.

"I think he's played really well for us here, and again, I don't watch him play every game but I'm told he's been pretty steady down there, too," Julien said. "First of all he's a big strong individual. He handles the physicality and the battles really well along the walls. He's also a guy that I think has made some really good first passes, not fancy but effective, and I like that from a defenseman.

"He's been reliable. I haven't seen him make a lot, if any, major mistakes. So I like the fact that he's a young player at the NHL level playing with lots of confidence and he has all the tools that's provided to him to be successful here."

Miller admits hearing that feedback from Julien has helped his confidence.

"It's obviously a great confidence booster," Miller said. "The program we have here is just unbelievable. It speaks volumes for me. I can't say enough about how good it feels for me."