In what was one of the crazier news related pre game practices, Andrew Gross at the Bergen Record reports that both Marc Staal (Flu) and Michael Del Zotto (lower body) will be game time decisions tonight in Montreal.
Gross adds that seeing Del Zotto walking slowly out of Bell Centre has him thinking the Rangers defenseman won't be playing tonight.
Here's what the defensive pairings will likely look like without Staal or Del Zotto...
...oof that's bad. Never wanted Del Zotto in the line-up so bad in my life.
At least we have old reliable Henrik Lundqv....wait, what is that you say? Marty Biron is getting the start tonight?
...i know Lundqvist has been dreadful at the Bell Centre, but Torts tried this strategy last year and Biron fared no better. With the Rangers slipping a bit and possibly playing with a skeleton crew, I would have liked to see the King in there.
Finally, Gross says that Arron Asham will once again be out of the line-up with Christian Thomas, who is late arriving due to mechanical issues with his airplane, taking his spot in the line-up.
Here are the expected forward lines...
...you know what? I actually really like these lines. Very balanced. Love Halpern's speed with Kreider and Miller. The Rangers may have a chance in this game yet.
I hope Torts gives that 4th line some ice time. We can be physical with the Canadians. Want to see Mash and Boyle hitting hard tonight.
man, 2 weeks ago we were talking about Boyle being a healthy scratch and this team actually having some depth, now 66% of our 3rd and 4th lines are made up of guys who were playing in the minors during the lockout. Amazing how the pendulum swings...
But I do like the lines, especially Kreider Halpern Miller. I'd really like to see Pyatt use his size to create more space for Richards and Gaborik to actually play with some finesse. Pyatt should just be bee-lining to the front of the net on every shift and trying to draw 1 or 2 defenders with him.
"...mechanical issues with his airplane..." I read that and pictured Thomas as the pilot with full ensemble — leather helmet, goggles, scarf
Wow. With those defensive pairings and Biron in net, they'll be lucky to keep the Habs under 6. Ugh.
"you know what? I actually really like these lines. Very balanced. Love Halpern's speed with Kreider and Miller. The Rangers may have a chance in this game yet."
Kevin, I don't know if you're being sarcastic or not !
Ewww. Those defensive pairings, and no King. We need a win, we are on a losing streak. Dont get that decision, but I have been questioning any of Tort's decisions this year...
@TheNYRBlog bring up the Whales best true sniper so that Torts can play him a total of 4-5 minutes and bench him in the 3rd because of his D
Glad to see Halpern get moved up. He's been solid. And I like Boyle centering the 4th line. He'll still get his PK time.These are almost like the lines I proposed the other day. Obviously Torts consults this blog regularly ;)
After that last game I think the whole team has the flu ... what, is Staal sicker than the rest? Richards looks the worst off to me.
@TheNYRBlog made the trip up 2 Montreal this weekend from queens. Hoping for big W from the rangers tonight or this will B a shit vacation
@TheNYRBlog I don't like the rangers depth on defense in the minors, they need to address it this year in the draft, we really miss sauer
I'm interested to see what Boyle does on that line. Mashinter and Thomas have familiarity with each other so if Boyle looks out of place...might be the final nail for him with the Rangers.
@McPhee21 -- unbelievable how soft our guys were last time. the D need to be physical, although it seems worthless to keep mentioning it at this point. if the guys forecheck and we can roll that 4th line tonight, there's no reason we can't take this team.
@JoeNYR LOL! 100% serious.
@AnnoyingJoe -- Marty is the only player that doesn't have the flu
In total agreement with ya. The Canadians are not a physical team. We should be able to bounce this team out of the rink.
Be aggressive...be nasty. Look at the Bruins, they play a physical, nasty game. They pound on you nonstop and wear you down as the game goes on.
Hit this team and hit them hard all night long. Be aggressive, nasty and physical.
I want Canadians fans to say to themselves after the game..."Wow..we were physically dominated by the Rangers tonight".....
Get it done Boys!!!
@slapshot13j -- that'd be nice, but seems unlikely to see a kid get PP minutes in his first game
hank has the flu?
We'd have to start calling him "Hankie."
@AnnoyingJoe -- i dunno ... i'm saying they all do ... they've looked so crappy it seems as good an explanation as any ... if we don't see some kind of renewed urgency tonight, how else can the MacGruber effect be explained?