Tracking the Storm

Changes Coming, but Which Ones?

Friday, 04.17.2009 / 1:58 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Changes Coming, but Which Ones?
Audio: Paul Maurice | Eric Staal

He refused to go into specifics (it is playoff time, after all), but Coach Paul Maurice did say that there would be some lineup changes for Game 2 at New Jersey tonight.

Paul Branecky
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Exactly what those will be are anyone’s guess, but they will more than likely involve lower-minute players on the fourth line and possibly the third defensive pairing.

“We’ll move some guys in and around a little bit,” said Maurice. “We think that we probably didn’t have anybody individually stand out worse than anybody else, but we have some players that can bring some jump and some legs into our lineup.”

Among the possibilities being discussed is removing Tim Conboy from the lineup. For a team that lacked energy and physical play, at first glance it might seem a little counterproductive to take Conboy out of the game. Also, the team’s record when he’s in the lineup speaks for itself.

However, if that were to occur, someone like Ryan Bayda could provide a different kind of spark.  Bayda isn’t the punisher that Conboy can be when he’s on his game, but he can provide a boost through his constant hustle.

As an example of that, you may have noticed that a lot of opposing players often take shots at Bayda after the whistle. Around the press box earlier in the year, we found that a little confusing as it didn’t seem as though Bayda was saying anything that might draw the ire of the opposition. Turns out, they just find the way he never quits on a play to be annoying. In that way, he as much of a pest as someone like Chad LaRose, who is a bit more vocal.

Other than that, it’s hard to see a change among the forwards. Rod Brind’Amour will play after missing yesterday’s practice, so Dwight Helminen should be out. Michael Ryan is another guy that I think could do a good job if called upon, but as of Tuesday’s practice he had been relegated to the “black ace” group that skated seperately from the regulars, which makes me think he’s a bit further down the pecking order than a Bayda or Helminen.

At any rate, don’t expect the combinations among the lower lines to stay consistent throughout.

“We’ll move guys around because we want to make sure we’ve got some balance in our bottom two lines,” said Maurice.

On the defensive side, Frantisek Kaberle is available. Ever since he became a regular scratch, I’ve always thought he did a serviceable job in the few games that he’s played. The coaching staff has put him in games in place of Niclas Wallin in the past, so if a change were to be made on that end, I’d expect that to be it.

As long as I’m speculating, you may as well too. Feel free to play coach on the message boards. Here’s a fresh depth chart to help you out.

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72