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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.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 CBJ 74 35 35 4 203 230 74
13 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 68 20 27 -13 47
J. Faulk 73 14 32 -18 46
E. Lindholm 72 16 20 -21 36
J. Skinner 68 18 12 -22 30
V. Rask 71 11 19 -12 30
R. Nash 67 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 69 7 17 -13 24
J. McClement 73 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 45 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 37 4 15 -9 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 19 21 5 .910 2.43
A. Khudobin 8 15 5 .903 2.62