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"Third" Line Hitting its Stride

Thursday, 01.01.2009 / 1:14 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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\"Third\" Line Hitting its Stride
Just a week ago, coach Paul Maurice said that he thought the team’s third line had more to give. In the past two games, last night’s win against Atlanta in particular, they’ve given plenty.
Paul Branecky
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Center Matt Cullen had a goal against Boston and, although they didn’t score against Atlanta, they were very effective in the offensive zone. The unit of Cullen, Chad LaRose and Justin Williams actually earned more ice time at even strength than Rod Brind’Amour’s line, making them the virtual second grouping in that game.

“It’s really important that we develop a confidence in what we would number as our third line,” said Maurice. “But based on how Cullen’s played last night they weren’t our third line, they were our second line. If the numbers here are a little bit more spread around, I’m fine with that.”

Maurice said that he didn’t necessarily intend on that being the case when the game started, and will continue to play lines as their playing warrants it.

“Function of the game,” said Maurice. “I think it affected Brind’Amour’s line. I don’t think they were as good last night as they have been. But Cullen and Sutter’s lines were real good, and of course the other line scores.”

The change in fortunes for the Cullen line started when Chad LaRose moved up to it’s left side, which Maurice said is no coincidence.

“He’s got a lot of intensity and brings that energy level up, and he has a lot to do with it,”


 

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