Archive for Lineup Changes
Per Dan Rosen, Pavel Buchnevich is skating on the top-six with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. That line is also skating on the top powerplay with Ryan McDonagh and Mats Zuccarello. This is a good indication that Buchnevich will be skating in Game 4, likely at the expense of Tanner Glass. Buch gives the Rangers a must needed skill and goal scoring boost. The full lines:
Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello, and Jesper Fast are confirmed to be out of the lineup tonight. All three missed practice yesterday for maintenance days. By skipping today, they are guaranteed five off days before the final two games of the season next weekend.
The lines for tonight’s game are going to be a little bit of a mess:
The defense pairs are still TBD, but expect some guys to get maintenance days.
The Rangers had some new lines at practice today, and it appears Jimmy Vesey is the new scratch.
You know what’s going to be fun to watch? Holden-Girardi as the second pair.
Much has been made about the lineup decisions made by Alain Vigneault. This is for good reason, as AV routinely dresses “his guys”, sometimes to the detriment of the team. His lineup decisions all year have been questioned, but they have come under a significant amount of fire lately as the Rangers get healthy.
It started with Tanner Glass and Steven Kampfer, and has trickled into Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein. But as Kevin pointed out this morning, the Rangers are in a unique position. They aren’t playing for anything at the moment. Their first round situation is set in stone, even if their opponent isn’t.
The Rangers are in an interesting spot with their lineup decisions. On the one hand, there are guys coming back from injury who could probably do for some ice time and the team is looking to get into a pre-playoff groove. On the other hand guys are banged up and worn down from the long season and could probably go for some rest. In either event, these aren’t the lines/combos we’re looking for.
Let’s go with the first scenario. Dan Girardi is now ready to go, and Kevin Klein likely is not far behind. Henrik Lundqvist too is set to play against Anaheim on this upcoming road trip. There’s a a certain logic that says that you want to find a sweet spot with your lineup as the playoffs approach, and so you play your best guys.
A little late on this stuff, but better late than never. The Rangers signed 2016 5th rounder Tim Gettinger to an entry level contract yesterday. Gettinger has a line of 30-22-52 in 60 games this year. That is close to double his goal total from last year (17-22-39).
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
As expected, Tanner Glass will dress for Matt Puempel, and Steven Kampfer will dress for Adam Clendening tonight, based on the attendance at the optional morning skate. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, despite Alain Vigneault stating he wouldn’t dress anyone without at least one practice under his belt.
I’m not going to beat the dead horse. You all know where I stand on this. But it’s going to be funny when, because of the light schedule, the Rangers win three in a row and it’s all because of Glass and Kampfer.
Just saying: We all know that will happen.
Some practice notes that you may have missed with the trade deadline excitement, or lack thereof:
- Mika Zibanejad returned to practice one day after being a last minute scratch last night. He appears to be good to go.
- Michael Grabner took a cross check from Adam Clendening in the hip, and is day-to-day. His status is up in the air.
- Kevin Klein’s back injury is taking longer to heal than expected. He still isn’t skating.
- Brendan Smith was on the top pair with Ryan McDonagh. Clendening remained with Brady Skjei. Marc Staal was reunited with Nick Holden.
Alain Vigneault has made one lineup change tonight, and it is going to upset a few people. Brandon Pirri will be back in the lineup for the first time since January 31, while Pavel Buchnevich will sit as a healthy scratch.
AV mentioned that Pirri will be used on the powerplay as an attempt to get some life back into the unit, as it has been struggling of late. That said, one of their better puck movers is still stapled to the press box.
Buchnevich was a healthy scratch against the Islanders last week, and then played in the two following games.
Much was made yesterday when news broke that Alain Vigneault would be scratching Pavel Buchnevich for a game, subbing in Matt Puempel. I’m actually glad I wasn’t around to peruse the Twitters yesterday, because I’m sure I would have lost my mind. I did see a few reactions, and I have to admit, it’s really not worth getting all worked up over this.
I understand that a lot of folks are sensitive to Vigneault’s lineup choices. The defense choices this year alone would make anyone cringe. I understand that last year scarred people for life, as Tanner Glass was routinely in the lineup over significantly more skilled forwards. I get it. But let’s also be clear that sitting a rookie for a game in the middle of a slump can be an educational tool.