Per Andrew Gross, coach John Tortorella has flipped his defensive pairs to prep for the Boston series, as “Ryan McDonagh is skating with Anton Stralman while Dan Girardi is with Michael Del Zotto. John Moore remains with Steve Eminger and Marc Staal (blurred vision) is not skating.” This makes sense, as the Bruins are a much deeper and less top-heavy team than the Caps, requiring the Rangers to adjust their pairings to be able to deal with four strong lines.
Gross also notes that in addition to Staal, Darroll Powe and Ryane Clowe are not skating.
Per Dan Rosen, Ryane Clowe said there is a “good chance” he plays tonight. Clowe, who hasn’t skated in the playoffs, will likely take the place of the injured Darroll Powe. Powe appeared to suffer a concussion in the Game Three victory, as he left in the first period and did not return. Powe, who suffered a concussion earlier this season, is likely done for the playoffs if this news is true.
Per Katie Strang, the Rangers have activated Marc Staal off injured reserve. This is not a guarantee that he will play tonight, but it is very likely he will be back. Staal will likely replace Steve Eminger in the lineup.
Per Dan Rosen, Ryane Clowe left the optional skate early this morning, while Arron Asham stayed on the ice a bit longer. This generally suggests that Asham will be a scratch, and Clowe will make his return to the lineup. Rosen also noted that Marc Staal is physically ready (reading between the lines of his tweet), but it’s more of a mental thing with Staal. He has to be able to play without feeling like his decision-making will burden the team.
Naturally, Torts isn’t revealing any of his lineup decisions until the warmups, so don’t expect any updates until just before puck drop.
Per the Rangers Twitter account, Derek Dorsett and Brian Boyle are partaking in warmups and will play tonight. Kris Newbury and Chris Kreider are not in warmups, and will be scratched.
Per Pat Leonard, there were no major changes to the Rangers lineup during practice today. Marc Staal (regular jersey) and Derek Dorsett (non-contact jersey) both skated. Brian Boyle and Ryane Clowe did not skate. This is semi-good news, as Staal in a regular jersey is a very good sign. His return is the most important, as the Rangers need him against Alex Ovechkin.
Per Steve Zipay, the only change in the practice lines has Micheal Haley joining the fourth line trio of Darroll Powe, Kris Newbury, and Arron Asham. The other lines remained the same.
Per Andrew Gross, Jesper Fast has officially arrived with the Rangers, and is taking full part in practice today. Fast is skating on a line with Brian Boyle and Taylor Pyatt. Fast is probably capable of skating two laps before either Pyatt or Boyle complete one lap, so that infusion of speed can only be a good thing.
Meanwhile, Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller are skating on a “line” with Arron Asham and Darroll Powe. If Fast plays, half of that line will be healthy scratches.
Per Steve Zipay, Mats Zuccarello’s insertion to the lineup has had an effect up and down the lineup. Zuccarello was skating with Brad Richards and Chris Kreider, while Marian Gaborik was shifted all the way to the fourth line with Kris Newbury and Taylor Pyatt. With the top line remaining the same, the third line will have J.T. Miller, Ryan Callahan, and Brian Boyle.
With these new lines, Arron Asham is the newest member of the Press Box Club. He will be joining Darroll Powe and Matt Gilroy in the press box.
Per pretty much everyone (Carp’s link is here), Brad Richards will return to the lineup tonight. Richards missed two games after being Patrick Kaleta’d into the boards. It’s safe to assume Micheal Haley will be out of the lineup, although I’d like to see him play a game over Stu Bickel.
There was a lot going on today in Rangerland, and there may be some significant roster changes for tonight’s game. Per Andrew Gross, the Rangers are dealing with the following injuries/lineup changes:
- Arron Asham is out with back spasms. Christian Thomas has been recalled to take his roster spot.
- To make room for Thomas, Rick Nash has been placed on IR, retroactive to last Saturday.
- Marc Staal has the flu, and is a game time decision.
- Michael Del Zotto is a game time decision with the lower body injury sustained on Thursday.
- Martin Biron is starting tonight.
I think that sums it up at the moment. There’s a lot going on tonight.