After getting into just his second career fight on Thursday, Red Wings forward Drew Miller is not done battling and scrapping.

For Miller, and a couple of other third- and fourth-line players, the fight to stay in the lineup will continue over the final 10 regular season games and the playoffs.

The Wings aren’t at full strength yet — Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen and Jiri Hudler all missed Saturday’s game with injuries or illness. But eventually they will have 14 healthy forwards, perhaps as soon as Monday, when they begin a five-game homestand against Pittsburgh.

That will force coach Mike Babcock to scratch two each game. And it won’t be easy decisions for Babcock. His fourth-line players have been providing a lot of energy, even some offense.

Miller, who has been rotated out of the lineup along with Kris Draper, has scored four goals in his last six games and plays a key role on the steadily improving penalty-killing units.

“The situation is what it is,” Miller said. “You play for the Detroit Red Wings, you get a chance every year to do some special things come playoff time and get to play with some great players. Everyone wants to play and compete and win and contribute. It’s tough for me to sit out and watch the guys play.”

PREDATORS 3, RED WINGS 1: The Wings were down to 17 skaters, including 11 forwards, due to injuries. They battled hard and were in it until the end. But Pekka Rinne is not the goaltender you want to be facing when shorthanded. Rinne made 39 saves, including 20 in the third period. Jonathon Blum snapped a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal at 8:12 of the third period. The Predators then killed a late Detroit power play, thanks to some great saves by Rinne, to seal the win.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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