Drew Miller hasn’t played since breaking his thumb against Vancouver on Apr. 20 but, if he’s ready to go for Game 2 on Saturday, Mike Babcock won’t hesitate to put him in the lineup.
“If Drew Miller is in a position to help our team, he’ll play,” Babcock told the Detroit Free Press after Friday’s practice.
Miller missed the final four games of the regular season and Detroit’s eight playoff contests thus far.
The speedy forward isn’t sure how much hand strength he’s recovered, but has been practicing and feels his skating is far enough along that he could help the Wings erase their one games to none series deficit against Chicago.
“I wouldn’t say it’s 100% percent, but I wouldn’t say it’s far off,” Miller said. “I think I can play. I’m comfortable with it. I thought practice today was the big step to see how it was. I got through practice and I felt fine and everything, I had no pain.
“I feel like I was able to perform what I need to perform to be able to play.”
Miller, normally a center, would draw into the lineup as a winger, according to Babcock. It’s likely one of Patrick Eaves or Todd Bertuzzi would be dropped, as both have been skating as fourth-line wings.
Miller had 4G-4A in 44 games this season and averaged close to 14 minutes a night. He’s coming off a solid 2011-12 campaign in which he posted career-highs in goals (14) and points (25).
Miller also has a wealth of playoff experience, having played 42 career playoff games. He also saw spot duty with Anaheim during the Ducks’ Stanley Cup victory in 2007.
No, the Nashville Predators did not forget how to score goals … or at least they were lifted from that amnesia on Wednesday.
Mike Fisher lifted the curse 13:52 into the first period of tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. You can watch that rare beast in the video above.
They had been shut out for three straight games and pretty close to four in pure game time.
On this subject, PHT’s Jason Brough asked Predators GM David Poile if he was considering moving a defenseman to improve in another area earlier today.
Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.
Perhaps some of that has to do with health?
Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.
The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.
“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”
He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.
You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.
Here are the handy links for the two contests.
First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.
Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.
“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”
Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.
Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.
Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.
Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer