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Drew still holds Miller bragging rights

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

Drew Miller tips this shot wide on his older brother, Vancouver goalie Ryan Miller, in Detroit's 5-3 win Sunday afternoon. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT – It’s hard enough for Dean Miller to watch his two sons play against each other.

But when Red Wings forward Drew Miller skated in on his older brother, Vancouver goalie Ryan Miller, the moment was almost too excruciating for dad to watch as he sat in the stands Sunday afternoon.

“I actually thought it was going to go,” said the proud father of two NHL players. “Maybe next time.”

It was the eighth head-to-head meeting for the Miller brothers in their NHL careers, and it was certainly the best chance that Drew has ever had at scoring a goal on Ryan.

“Yeah, for sure that was probably the best one,” said Drew Miller, who has registered one point against Ryan in their careers. “It was a breakaway, just couldn’t get the puck to settle down there in the end. Still tried to fight off the defenseman behind me. Probably wasn’t the clearest breakaway, but was still a good opportunity.”

Hard work led to Miller’s opportunity as he outraced Vancouver defenseman Luca Sbisa to the loose puck in the neutral zone. Sbisa whacked and hooked at the Wings’ forward, but Drew managed to keep his balance before lifting a backhand shot that hit his brother in the chest.

“I know he wanted that bad,” Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “He had a great chance there but the great thing with Millsie is, of course he wants to score, but he likes to come out on top, it doesn’t matter who scores.”

Pavel Datsyuk scored twice and the Red Wings also got goals from Kronwall, Gustav Nyquist and Danny DeKeyser in a 5-3 victory over the Canucks at Joe Louis Arena.

Ryan Miller entered Sunday’s game not allowing a goal in his past two games. But the Red Wings ended his shutout streak at 155:20 when Kronwall walked in pumped a shot into the back of the net at 3:15 of the first period for a 1-0 lead.

The Wings took a two-goal lead into the first intermission on Nyquist’s seventh power-play goal of the season. They had a 3-1 lead through two periods when Datsyuk added a goal on the power play.

Detroit’s power play continues to scorch opposing teams, scoring multiple goals with the man-advantage for the eighth time this season. Since Oct. 31, the power play has clicked along at 19-of-63 – that’s an astonishing 30.2 percent success rate.

Drew Miller has bragging rights over his brother again. Drew is now 7-1 all-time against Ryan in the NHL, and 6-0 as a Red Wing with one assist and a baker’s dozen of shots on goal.

“It’s not something that I hold over his head, but he knows it’s there,” said Drew, who was a plus-1 with two shots, two blocks and three hits on Sunday.

Ryan Miller hasn’t had much success against the Red Wings during his 12 NHL seasons. He is now 2-10-2 all time against the Wings and 1-5-1 at The Joe.

The Red Wings are one of five teams – including Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Colorado and Ottawa – that have winning records against Miller, who has the third most league wins (302) among American-born goaltenders.

While Detroit got the win, its season-long fourth straight, a goal in his second consecutive game, especially against his sibling, would have been ideal.

“By the time I got there I really didn’t think I’d get a chance to make a move so I just tried to take a shot and get it on net,” said Drew, who scored in Friday’s 5-4 shootout win at New Jersey. “Had a couple of good shifts against him in the offensive zone.

“(But) when the game’s over you’re still brothers.”

The Millers will face off for the second and final time in the regular season when the Red Wings begin a six-game road trip in Vancouver on Jan. 3.

“We’re going to that actually,” Dean said. “We’ll be out there for New Years and we’ll see that game.”

ABBY INJURED: With 1:40 left in the second period, Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader was hit by Sbisa at center ice on a delayed icing call.

Abdelkader finished the shift, but did not return to the game. He is one of 11 Wings to have played in every game this season.

The shoulder injury isn’t believed to be anything significant, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. He added that Abdelkader is day to day and his status for Detroit’s next game, Tuesday against Florida, is unclear.

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