52°F
weather icon Clear

With return of Schmidt, Knights could get the best of Colin Miller

So this is what they say about the conscious mind: That if you keep it busy with expectation of the best results, other feelings that might be repressed can’t impact you negatively.

Colin Miller might have had some of those hidden views over his hockey team’s first 20 games this season.

He’s not sure.

“I think it’s natural to want to go out and show them they weren’t mistaken in (signing you to a long-term deal),” said Miller. “Honestly, you just want to be part of a back end that collectively can make a difference.”

Nate Schmidt has returned to the Golden Knights lineup and the team is much better for it, but perhaps no individual will benefit more from his presence than Miller, whose first goal of the season Friday finished the scoring of a 2-0 victory against Calgary before an announced crowd of 18,206 at T-Mobile Arena.

Miller was one of several Vegas players from last season’s Stanley Cup Finals run to be rewarded with a new contract, his a four-year term for $15.5 million, the player who led the team’s defensemen in goals and points in 2017-18 and who has the sort of powerful shot that would shatter most speed limits along your typical Texas highway.

He wasn’t the only defender whose role was adjusted as Schmidt served his suspension for violating the league’s performance enhancing drug policy, but with Miller’s switch came the responsibility of facing the opponents top line each game.

A different game

Whether that was a direct influence on Miller not scoring until Friday, he ultimately played to a minus-4 with Schmidt sidelined. Miller, like most everyone for Vegas, struggled offering much consistency as teammates dropped off with injuries and seemingly everyone awaited the return of Schmidt.

Miller played more during that span. He took on a heavier burden.

Even when scoring chances came, his lasers would miss or hit the post.

“You have to be aware of who you’re playing against, so maybe it was a case of not focusing on offense as much (going against top lines) or just trying to do too much,” said Miller. “But that’s also a credit to the guys who can defend and be good offensively, because it’s a tough thing to do.

“I think, more than anything, I will look back on those (20 games) and say it was nice to have the opportunity to play against top pairings.”

Vegas is 3-1 since Schmidt’s return and, but for a disastrous effort in Calgary on Monday, seems to be trending more and more to a style that was so prevalent last season, meaning the puck gets to the forwards quicker, things are pushed into and through the neutral zone faster, the attack comes at a much swifter pace.

Which sounds pretty simple, but sure wasn’t without Schmidt.

Power-play producer

Miller is back with the third pairing defensively, this time alongside Nick Holden, and yet can still be so incredibly dangerous on offense. Miller had a career-high 41 points (including 10 goals) last season and was third on the team in power-play points with 17, leading the second unit with that right-handed blast.

He showed it again Friday, when Miller’s shot from the left point beat David Rittich at 2:34 of the third period and, given how well Marc Andre-Fleury was playing in goal for Vegas (free doughnuts for a league-best fourth time this season), was more than enough to avenge that 7-2 embarrassment to the Flames on Monday.

By the way, how Fleury is offering such terrific performances without those gold pads is beyond me … or not.

“Everyone is back in their spots (defensively) and they’re all playing pretty well and confident,” said Vegas coach Gerard Gallant. “Colin was a big part of what we did last year and that’s why he got a long-term deal. We liked what he was bringing to (begin this season), but he just wasn’t scoring until tonight.

“We know his (goals) are going to come because he shoots the puck real well and is a good power-play guy. We like the game he plays, but we also like it when he’s getting a few points, too.”

Nate Schmidt is back and Vegas is winning.

It’s important for the Knights.

It’s double that for Colin Miller.

Contact columnist Ed Graney at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Edge Mailbag | October 17th, 2019
The Review-Journal's Ben Gotz and Cassie Soto are back for a new rendition of the Golden Edge mailbag! Send in your VGK questions, and they'll answer them live on the stream.
Malcom Subban Day-To-Day, Gallant Talks Golden Knights' Goaltenders - VIDEO
After suffering an undisclosed lower body injury in a loss to the Arizona Coyotes, Golden Knights goaltender Malcolm Subban was announced as having a day-to-day injury when head coach Gerard Gallant spoke about his goaltenders after practice.
Golden Knights lose 4-1 to Coyotes - VIDEO
The Golden Knights lost 4-1 to the Arizona Coyotes in Glendale. VGK Goalie Malcolm Subban exited the game early with an injury and is Day-to-day.
Golden Knights Head Coach Gerard Gallant knows Coyotes are "very aggressive" - Video
The Golden Knights will head to Arizona to face the Coyotes on Thursday with hopes to bounce back from Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Bruins. Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant is fully aware that the Coyotes are a very aggressive team and knows his guys will have to match that speed.
Golden Knights Feast on Shark - Video
After swimming with (and defeating) the Sharks in their first two games of the season, the entire Vegas Golden Knights team feasted on their fair share of seafood at Zuma Las Vegas inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Golden Knights Greet Fans At Gold Carpet - Video
The Golden Knights walk the gold carpet before puck drop at their season opener against the San Jose Sharks at the T-Mobile Arena.
Golden Knights Hold Private Practice, Lunch for 1 October First Responders - Video
The Golden Knights held a private practice at City National Arena for first responders, Mandalay Bay employees and guests who were affected by the 1 October events. After practice, guests were able to meet the Golden Knights themselves to take pictures and get autographs.
Golden Knights Prepare to Honor Those Affected by 1 October - VIDEO
Golden Knights General Manager Kelly McCrimmon discusses the teams upcoming practice which will honor those affected by the events on October 1, 2017. The team has invited guests including first responders, Mandalay Bay employees and others who were impacted. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon Discusses Roster Updates - VIDEO
Golden Knights General Manager Kelly McCrimmon discusses the teams roster and key injuries ahead of Opening Day (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Golden Knights Max Pacioretty on the Golden Edge Podcast - VIDEO
Vegas Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty joins the Golden Edge podcast to talk about the upcoming season for the Knights, the rivalry with the Sharks and the Pacioretty 67 burger.
Golden Knights Alex Tuch, Cody Eakin Injured in Preseason Loss to Kings
The Golden Knights not only lost to the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Friday night, the team also saw Alex Tuch and Cody Eakin head off the ice with injuries. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writers David Schoen and Ben Gotz give an update on the players injuries as well as discuss what went wrong for the Golden Knights.
Golden Knights Suffer Second Preseason Loss to the Kings - Video
The Golden Knights suffered the team's second loss of the preseason, this time to the LA Kings 3-2. Head coach Gerard Gallant knows his team got off to a sloppy start but was impressed with the final effort.
Golden Knights Forward Ryan Reaves wants to play in the pre-season - VIDEO
Golden Knights Forward Ryan Reaves talks about coming back from an injury and a possible long term deal with the team. September 26, 2019.
Golden Knights Head Coach Gallant speaks on injuries and cuts before last two pre-season games - VIDEO
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant speaks after practice on September 26, 2019, on injuries and cuts before last two pre-season games.
Golden Knights Suffer First Preseason Loss to Avalanche, 4-1 - Video
The Golden Knights suffered the team's first preseason loss, after falling to the Avalanche 4-1. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writers David Schoen and Ben Gotz break down what went wrong for the Golden Knights.
Golden Knights React to First Preseason Loss - Video
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant called the first loss of the preseason a "team loss" that was "tough to watch."
Paul Stastny On Playing More Games - Video
Golden Knights forward Paul Stastny talks about preparing for the regular season and playing more games before the season starts.
Golden Knights Nate Schmidt Talks About Seeking Change With PED Testing - Video
The Golden Knights wrap up their practice for the day and Nate Schmidt hoping to see changes to PED testing.
Nate Schmidt On Wanting Change With PED Testing - Video
Nate Schmidt speaks about wanting to see change with PED testing in the NHL.
Fleury and Marchessault Play Heads Up - Video
Golden Knights Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and Jonathan Marchessault play heads up VGK edition.
Aliens Invade City National Arena for Competition
Aliens attended the City National Arena for a competition to see who was best dressed. The prize was out of this world. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights rally to beat Kings in OT, 3-2
The Golden Knights were down 2-0 halfway through the third period, but two quick goals helped get the team back on track to beat the Kings 3-2 in overtime.
Golden Knights' Deryk Engelland Shares Advice with Rookies - Video
Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland has some advice for rookies: “Stick with what got you there.” The veteran NHL player also recalls his first goal as a pro.
Golden Knights Continue Preseason Success with Win Over Avalanche - Video
The Golden Knights prospects are continuing to prove they are worthy of a starting position, this time with a shutout 5-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
Golden Knights Head Coach Gerard Gallant Praises Prospects - Video
A day after the Golden Knights 6-2 preseason victory over the Arizona Coyotes, head coach Gerard Gallant discussed how impressed he is with the prospects, including defensemen Nicolas Hague and Dylan Coghlan.
Golden Knights On First Preseason Win - Video
The Golden Knights talk about their first preseason win including Max Pacioretty's hat trick and putting Malcolm Subban as the goaltender for tonight's game.
Golden Knights Zamboni Lessons 101 - Video
The Golden Knights preseason tips off on Sunday, Sept. 15 and you know what that mean, it's time to roll out the zamboni! Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a zamboni operator for the Golden Knights? Golden Edge host Cassie Soto finds out!
Allegiant Unveils Golden Knights Plane - Video
Allegiant air officially unveils its new Golden Knights airbus that will take to the skies soon.
Golden Knights Rookie Camp: 3 Takeaways - Video
Vegas Golden Knights rookies took to the ice on Friday morning for practice at City National Arena. While the rookies mainly participated in drills, it was good to see the prospects get ice time. Golden Knights beat writers David Schoen and Ben Gotz discuss their three takeaways from the practice.
Golden Knights Host Charity Golf Classic - Video
The Golden Knights held its 2019 Charity Golf Classic on Wednesday at TPC Summerlin. Before teeing off, Golden Knights players Ryan Reaves, Jonathan Marchassault and Alex Tuch said who they thought were the worst and best golfers on their team.
Ryan Reaves performs wedding ceremony
Reverand Reavo makes his debut for one time only at the Chapel of Flowers for a get married by Ryan Reaves contest.
THE LATEST
 
WWE teaches NBA valuable lesson about identity

In a week’s time across the sports landscape, that which is globally accepted as fake proved far more honest than a major professional league struggling to admit what it really is.

 
Raiders, Khalil Mack to meet again in London

Oakland and Bears linebacker Khalil Mack will encounter one another for the first time Sunday since the elite pass rusher was traded in September of 2018.