Ryan Miller. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Vancouver Canucks will be getting Ryan Miller back Thursday night, but he'll suit up as the backup to Eddie Lack. Miller might see a start in Edmonton before the regular season is up, but Eddie Lack's play may have coach Willie Desjardins thinking about starting him over the veteran Miller.
Ryan Miller has been out of the Canucks' lineup since injuring himself in a Feb. 22 contest against the New York Rangers, but the Vancouver netminder will be back just in time for the start of his team's playoff run.
According to Sportsnet's Dan Murphy, Miller, who was out with a lower body injury, will suit up as the backup for Eddie Lack tonight. There's even the possibility that Miller will get a start before the Canucks' season ends on Saturday night against the Edmonton Oilers. Miller has been practicing with the Canucks and began taking shots on March 29. He then began participating in full practice on April 3.
In the playoffs, it will be up to Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins to decide which goaltender, Lack or Miller, he wants to run with in the post-season.
Before going down with injury, Miller had posted a 28-15-1 record with a 2.47 goals-against average and .913 save percentage. He had also recorded six shutouts. It was no secret that Miller was struggling this season, however, and the Canucks locked up their playoff berth with Lack between the pipes.
Since taking over for Miller, Lack has posted an 11-7-2 record and has steadily improved his season statistics. Entering Thursday's contest with a 2.52 GAA and .919 SP, it wouldn't be hard to imagine Desjardins riding the goaltender that got him to the playoffs once the post-season begins.
However, Miller does have the edge in playoff experience seeing as Lack has not suited up for a single playoff contest in his NHL career. Miller, on the other hand, has a 27-26 record in the post-season with a 2.49 GAA and .915 SP.
In the 2013-14 playoffs, after being picked up at the trade deadline to be St. Louis' starting goaltender, Miller went 2-4 with a 2.70 GAA and .897 SP in the Blues' six-game first-round defeat at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks.