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Reilly Smith’s promise to score is empty

Reilly Smith has not scored since Nov. 10.Bob DeChiara/USA Today

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Maybe, if nothing else is working, a drastic measure is needed.

It has been a long time since Reilly Smith scored. Almost a month, in fact. The Bruins winger's last goal (and last point) came against the Devils Nov. 10. That's nine games without a point for the streaky Smith, who failed to get on the scoresheet in Monday night's 3-2 loss to the Ducks. Reilly also went through long dry periods last season on his way to 20 goals and 51 points.

"It'd be a lot easier if it didn't go this way," Smith said Monday morning from the Honda Center. "I guess it just means that I'm going to have to score tonight and probably have a good road trip here."


Asked about scoring against the Ducks — whether he was just hoping for or guaranteeing a goal — Smith smiled and said, "It's a guarantee. Mark Messier. Guarantee."

Messier, of course, guaranteed back in 1994 that his Rangers would win Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, which they did after Messier scored a hat trick. His team went on to win the Stanley Cup.

The stakes are a lot lower for Smith, but it's clear that the winger would like to get out of his slump, especially at a time when the Bruins are desperate for goals. The Bruins are just 21st in the NHL in goals per game at 2.46. They ranked third in the league last year, at 3.15.

"It'd be a lot easier not having to come back in the third period every game, like it seems like we've done the last three or four," Smith said. "We've tried to focus on having a better start the last couple of games. It hasn't worked out the way we want it to, but you've got to continue that focus, and hopefully we'll start getting some positive outcomes in the first period."


Smith was moved out of his spot alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand against the Jets Friday to accommodate David Pastrnak, who generated seven shots on goal in the game.

Asked if it were difficult to be moved, Smith said, "Yes and no. There's aspects of it where those two guys [Bergeron and Marchand] are ultra-talented, they'll give you a little more opportunities than you're used to, so that's always nice to have a little backdoor tap-in, get out of a little bit of a slump.

"But, still playing with great players on this team. It comes down to your play at the end of the day and how you're able to fit in with your linemates."

So whether it takes a guarantee, or a trip to the West Coast, or a little bit of luck, Smith is looking forward to getting some points added to his total. As it stands, he has four goals and six assists for 10 points on the season. He's seventh on the team in goals, behind six teammates with five.

But he's hoping that he is at least doing the other things that coach Claude Julien is asking of him, and that soon he adds the scoring back in.

"It's tough when you're not scoring, when you're not putting the puck in the back of the net, because that's probably one of the focal points of my game," Smith said. "You've got to make up for it in other aspects, and I think I've been doing at least a decent job of that."


Miller sits out

Kevan Miller expects to have family on hand in Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, and maybe even Phoenix this week. But after getting banged up in Friday's game against the Jets, Miller was scratched Monday, with Zach Trotman taking his place.

Miller, who grew up a Sharks fan, despite living in Los Angeles, has had to learn to cope with the injuries. He had not missed much time because of injury before suffering a dislocated right shoulder in a fight Oct. 18.

"It's a new experience," Miller said. "I've never really had an injury like that, or anything that's kept me out of the lineup for a long period of time. So I've learned a lot from it, upstairs watching games. But I think I've translated that into my game. Just trying to take it day by day."

The shoulder injury is something Miller will have to manage all season, including incorporating strengthening exercises.

"There's a number of [physical therapy] things that we go through every day," Miller said. "Some days strength days, some days more stretch days. It's just something that you've kind of got to manage . . . It's something that I'll probably have to do the rest of the year and probably see where at the end of the year that is.

"You lose that strength and you kind of have to use stiffer muscles to kind of compensate to keep it in the right spot. But it actually feels great. It's come a long way, so it gets better every day."


Similar situations

If there's a group that understands what the Bruins have gone through with injuries this season, it's the Ducks. Anaheim has been ravaged by injuries and ailments, including the mumps.

While the Bruins have yet to have a case of the mumps, they have had to withstand key injuries throughout their lineup, including Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, and Adam McQuaid, all of whom are absent from this West Coast swing.

"Everybody's got injuries. I mean, we're talking to a team, preaching to the choir against Boston," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Injuries are a part of the game. You either play through it and say the hell with it and somebody else take their spot, or you sit there and you moan and groan about it, and say woe is me. I hope we're not the woe-is-me team. We just go out there and play."

The Ducks, who are second in the West with 33 points, have managed to tread water, as the Bruins have, though Anaheim has lost its last two games.

Among those out for the Ducks are Clayton Stoner, Jason LaBarbera, Francois Beauchemin, Ben Lovejoy, Dany Heatley, and John Gibson.

It's a problem Julien knows well.

"We had to adapt obviously without some key players in our lineup," Julien said. "But I like the fact that we've gotten better all the time, and there's some guys that are getting bigger roles because of that and they're answering it very well. You hope that your team grows through those painful moments, and I think we are."


Amalie Benjamin can be reached at abenjamin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.