Miller finding himself in everyday lineup

DETROIT – The last time Drew and Ryan Miller were supposed to square off on the ice, Drew was a healthy scratch.

This time it looks like Ryan won’t be able to go tonight in Buffalo after the Sabres’ goalie suffered a concussion a few weeks back on an open-ice hit by Boston’s Milan Lucic.

“I know he’s been skating, but I don’t know any timeline on his return,” Drew said.

The brothers have met three times on the ice in the NHL with Drew winning two of the meetings. Two of those came when Drew was playing for Anaheim.

“I really haven’t gotten any good scoring chances on him,” Drew said. “It’s great for both of us being brothers and as close as we are. There’s not a lot of that happening in the NHL. It’s fun to be a part of that. And it’s always fun for our parents and family and friends come and watch.”

Drew has played his way into being a constant fixture in the Wings’ lineup this season after spending all of last year going in-and-out of the game-day roster.

“Every time I’m a healthy scratch I’m not too happy, but especially in that game,” Drew said. “I wanted to play against him especially with the whole family there. It was tough but it’s one of those things where it is what it is. I just hope we have a few more games against each other in our careers.

“It’s not an easy thing to be a part of and I worked hard over the summer to put myself in a position where I wouldn’t work my way out of that,” Drew said. “That’s something I believe that I can continue to grow as a player and be someone they can count on to be a regular night guy.”

He has been a healthy scratch just twice this season.

“I try to be consistent and bring something to the team that I feel I can contribute and help the team every night,” Drew said. “They rely on (the fourth line) for energy, be responsible and be one of the guys they can rely on to kill penalties. That’s the role we play.

“If we can keep our big guys like Z and Pav rested and not have to worry about the penalty kill as much, we’re doing our jobs,” Drew added. “It gives them more opportunity to play 5-on-5 and on the power play. It takes a little bit of the burden off them to kill off the penalties for them.”

Drew didn’t spend any time searching for another team to play for this offseason, signing a two-year deal worth $837,500 a season just as the free agency period began.

“I could have left and gone to another team and maybe had more of a chance to play and not have to worry about a rotation, but I wanted to stay in Detroit,” Drew said. “I think it’s a good fit for me with the system and the guys in the locker room.

“We always have a chance to win the Cup and that’s what it’s all about,” Drew continued. “You want to push yourself to get better every day and if I’m in a competition to play that’s just going to make me a better player.”

Drew took some ribbing from his brother earlier this year when he collided with Minnesota goalie Josh Harding behind the Wild net.

Ryan called Drew and told him he thought his younger brother had more respect for goalies.

It was also a play that may have gotten Drew extended time as a healthy scratch last season.

“I wasn’t worried about that,” Drew said. “It was a bad penalty to take. You don’t want to take a penalty when you’re on the penalty kill especially when you’re in the offensive zone.”

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