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.
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.