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.
Category: Lineup Changes
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.
Per Jim Cerny, Torts did some re-shuffling of his lines at practice. The biggest move appears to be inserting Brian Boyle back into the lineup, and scratching Chris Kreider. Boyle was centering a line with Taylor Pyatt and JT Miller. This move is likely about two things: Getting Boyle back in the lineup, and giving Miller his fifth and final game as a way to rebound from his poor outing against Boston. Kreider is just the odd man out for now. The rest of the lines:
Marian Gaborik-Brad Richards-Ryan Callahan
Carl Hagelin-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash
JT Miller-Brian Boyle-Taylor Pyatt
Arron Asham-Jeff Halpern-Darroll Powe
The defensive pairings remained the same.
According to Andrew Gross at Rangers Rants, Torts juggled the line combos today at practice with both his even strength and power play units. Gross reported the following line combos:
Should these lines stay in tact, it appears Hagelin is moving up to the second line and Pyatt is going back to the third. These lines on paper make sense. However, Hagelin has to get going in order to keep his spot in the top 6.
I hope Ferriero is able to stick in the line up tomorrow. I don’t know how everyone else feels, but I would like to see more of him. I thought he displayed some good foot speed against Toronto and he played well along the boards. He’s generously listed at 5’11 195 lbs, so he’s on the smaller side for a bottom six player. However, if the kid can compete at both ends of the ice, then this may be a good pick up for the Blueshirts.
On to the power play…
Per Steve Zipay, Chris Kreider is skating after the optional morning skate, meaning he will likely be a scratch tonight against the Flyers. Kreider was skating with Arron Asham and Matt Gilroy, meaning these are the three likely scratches.
Also, after last night’s game Kris Newbury was recalled from the Whale, presumably to take Kreider’s spot for tonight’s game.
Update 1:30pm: It’s been noted that Asham has a minor groin strain, and it’s unknown when he will return. This is why Bickel was a forward, and why Eminger will likely slide into the bottom defensive pairing. It’s worth noting that the organization decided against calling up Brandon Segal.
Original Post: Per Pat Leonard, Torts has decided to shake up the lines a bit today:
#NYR practice lines: Nash-Richards-Gaborik, Kreider-Stepan-Callahan, Hagelin-Boyle-Pyatt, Rupp-Halpern-Bickel
It’s worth noting that Arron Asham is not in the lineup for now. The safe assumption is that Steve Eminger replaces Bickel on the bottom pairing. Although that can change by tomorrow.
At first glance, many will like these lines because it creates a super top line, and re-unites the “America” line of Kreider-Stepan-Cally. The third line is still pretty solid as well.
Whether you agree with the suspension or not, Brandon Prust will not be playing in tonight’s Game 4 against the Devils. With the opportunity to build a two game lead, the Rangers will be without one of their warriors and top penalty killers. It’s a blow, but not a blow that can’t be overcome. Unlike with Carl Hagelin, the Rangers have a few options readily available to replace Prust for the one game ban.
Option 1: Brandon Dubinsky
This option is the best option for the Rangers. With Dubi cleared for contact and partaking in optional skates, he is on the cusp of returning to action. It has to be assumed that if Dubi can play, then he will play. Dubi would be a perfect fit to replace Prust, as Dubi can slide in quietly to a fourth line role for this game, and ease back into playoff hockey. Plus, if Dubi comes back, the penalty kill won’t suffer too much with Prust out.
Option 2: Insert Stu Bickel at forward
The big news out of practice today was that Brandon Dubinsky was on the ice in a non-contact jersey. This is great news for the Rangers, who have been missing Dubinsky since he went down with his lower body injury. Dubinsky has been sorely missed on the penalty kill, as evidenced last game when Brian Boyle took a penalty, and Derek Stepan was forced to kill the penalty. Of course, the end result was a Devil’s goal.
There is still no timetable for Dubinsky’s return, but the fact that he is skating is great news. Considering it was his leg that was an issue, him being able to be on the ice and moving around can only be seen as a good thing. He likely won’t play tomorrow, but if all goes well I’d assume he will be back sooner rather than later.
As for the lines from practice, there was one minor change, as Mike Rupp moved up to skate with Brian Boyle and Artem Anisimov. Ruslan Fedotenko, John Mitchell, and Brandon Prust were the fourth line.
During yesterday’s practice, Pat Leonard tweeted the lines that coach John Tortorella ran. These lines are likely to be the lines run tonight for Game Seven. Many called for Chris Kreider to move back up to a line with Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan, and they got their wish:
Carl Hagelin-Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik
Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan
Artem Anisimov-Brian Boyle-Brandon Prust
Mike Rupp-John Mitchell-Ruslan Fedotenko
The defensive pairings, as always, remained the same.
It’s good to see Kreider back up where many, including myself, think he belongs. That line has some great speed, skill, and tenacity and had great success when used earlier this series. The Rangers will need every weapon they have to win their second Game Seven in as many series.