Per Steve Zipay, Lee Stempniak is out tonight, and Alain Vigneault doesn’t think it is a long-term issue. That means both Anthony Duclair and Jesper Fast will play tonight, on the third and fourth lines, respectively. Per Zipay, the lines at practice yesterday:
Category: Lineup Changes
Per Andrew Gross, Anthony Duclair will play tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning, skating on the third line with Kevin Hayes and Carl Hagelin. Lee Stempniak was shifted to the fourth line with Dominic Moore and Tanner Glass. Jesper Fast will be the healthy scratch.
Per Sean Hartnett, the only lineup change being made tonight will be Dan Boyle returning to the lineup, replacing Mike Kostka. Likely riding the 5-0 win on Tuesday night, coach Alain Vigneault did not make any changes to his forward lines, which means Anthony Duclair will again be a scratch.
Also, Tomas Kaberle will report to the Hartford Wolf Pack for a few games this weekend. He will need to sign a PTO first.
Per Seth Rothman, recently recalled winger Jesper Fast is taking line rushes with Tanner Glass and Dominic Moore, while Carl Hagelin, Kevin Hayes, and Anthony Duclair are all taking rushes together. If these lines hold true, then it means Lee Stempniak will be the odd man out.
In unrelated news, Tanner Glass has inappropriate photos of the coaching staff, and that’s why he’s in the lineup*.
Update: Stempniak is working on a powerplay unit and Duclair is not….so no one knows anything. This should be fun.
Update #2: Duclair is the odd man out.
Per Andrew Gross, Dan Boyle, out since the season opener with a fractured right hand, was in a regular practice jersey this morning. He was skating with Tomas Kaberle, who is joining Ranger practices without a contract. Boyle may not play tomorrow, but it looks like he will be set to return next week. Considering the state of the blue line, his return can’t come soon enough.
Boyle’s return would spell the end of Kostka in the lineup. It’s good to see Stepan back in the lineup too, but I don’t know if putting Glass with two rookies is the wisest move for the fourth line.
The Rangers are so shorthanded right now that they’re bringing in Tomas Kaberle to skate with the team today, but that won’t last much longer.
Derek Stepan’s return is imminent, Dan Boyle’s recovery is also in it’s final stages, and John Moore’s suspension will be over after Sunday’s game. Kevin Klein could follow soon after, though no official prognosis has been made on his foot injury.
So how will things change in the coming days and weeks?
For one thing, the return of Stepan and Boyle should, should, get the power play on track. Statistically it can’t be much worse than the three-for-32 slump to start the season (Pittsburgh has 19 power play goals already…), but even a mediocre stretch by the man advantage would mean an extra goal every few games, a not insignificant padding for the patchwork defense. Read more »
Per Brett Cyrgalis, the coaching staff shook up the defensive pairings a bit with John Moore headed towards a suspension. The forward lines were changed up as well, likely due to the success we saw from the Mats Zuccarello-Derick Brassard-Rick Nash trio:
Ryan Malone took a maintenance day.
That fourth line is likely to change, probably moving Mueller to center, Malone to RW, and Hayes as a scratch. Either way, that fourth line is “meh” at best. The bottom four looks, well, it looks like it will get exploited a few times. I think that’s a mild way of putting it.
There were no changes to the defensive pairings.
It’s very early in the season, and Alain Vigneault also said that Duclair may not play every game to start the season. There is value in watching games from above to see how plays develop in the NHL and in AV’s systems. It’s one game, so there’s no reason to panic over Duclair sitting. The staff will make the best possible decision to ensure his growth isn’t stunted by rushing him.
Can’t really say this was unexpected, but after Mike Kostka’s two turnovers last night, he was skating as the 7D in practice today, per Seth Rothman. Marc Staal was skating with Matt Hunwick, and Kevin Klein was still with John Moore.