Raphael Diaz, acquired from the Vancouver Canucks at the trade deadline, will make his Rangers debut tonight in New Jersey. Diaz will take John Moore’s spot in the lineup, as Moore did not return after taking a big hit in the first period of last night’s victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
It is expected that Diaz will be on a pairing with Kevin Klein.
While we were gone for the server upgrade, Alain Vigneault switched up his lines a bit. He moved Chris Kreider to the second line with Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis, and moved Carl Hagelin to the top line with Derek Stepan and Rick Nash. This essentially gives the Rangers two top lines (1 and 1a, as you can’t really call either one a “second” line). It’s something we had been wanting for a while ’round these parts, as the Richards/MSL combo needed a finisher and net presence (Kreider), and the Stepan/Nash combo needed someone to drive puck possession a bit more effectively (Hagelin).
Naturally those lines didn’t score last night, but the lines are probably going to get another look tonight in Winnipeg. I’d like to see Raphael Diaz get a go over the severely struggling Anton Stralman, but it doesn’t sound like that’s going to happen.
Per Pat Leonard, Derek Dorsett will be taking Dan Carcillo’s spot in the lineup tonight against Carolina. Dorsett’s last game was March 5th against Toronto. This move might make some people angry considering Carcillo’s strong play with the Rangers, but Dorsett is the more balanced player. His ability to take shifts in the defensive zone late in the game –not to mention his ability to kill penalties– makes him a more valuable asset on the ice. It was really just a matter of time before Dorsett took over Carcillo’s spot full time.
Per Andrew Gross, Justin Falk and the newly acquired Dan Carcillo will be the healthy scratches tonight when the Rangers take on the Columbus Blue Jackets. Michael Del Zotto and J.T. Miller will be in the lineup. Henrik Lundqvist will start (as expected).
Starting Del Zotto over Falk is a no-brainer at this point, although few will agree. Miller over Carcillo is also a no-brainer, as Carcillo needs to adjust to the new systems before he is a useful cog on what is a defensive shutdown line.
Per the beat writers (multiple), Ryan Callahan will make his return tonight against the Penguins. J.T. Miller will be a healthy scratch, but it’s important to note that AV said the kid is playing well, and that it’s just a numbers game. Derick Brassard will move back to center.
On defense, Justin Falk and Michael Del Zotto remain the healthy scratches.
Update: Per Pat Leonard, Falk and Del Zotto appear to be the scratches for tomorrow if Stralman can go.
Original Post: There was a lot of news coming from practice today, courtesy of Brett Cyrgalis (New York Post). Marc Staal will play tomorrow, and Anton Stralman was taking rushes with Michael Del Zotto. John Moore and Justin Falk formed the fourth defense pairing. Staal was skating with rookie Connor Allen, who appears to be getting at least one more game with the big club. Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi were back together as well. The full lines:
Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash
Derick Brassard-Brad Richards-Mats Zuccarello
Carl Hagelin-J.T. Miller-Benoit Pouliot
Brian Boyle-Dominic Moore-Derek Dorsett
Moore-Falk (likely scratches if Stralman is good to go)
Per Andrew Gross, there is no decision on Stralman as of yet. He will see how he feels tomorrow. If he can’t go, one of Moore or Falk will skate with Del Zotto.
Ryan Callahan was in a non-contact jersey.
Per Andrew Gross, the Rangers have some new lines to compensate for the injury to captain Ryan Callahan:
Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello
Taylor Pyatt-Brad Richards-Rick Nash
Carl Hagelin-Brian Boyle-Derek Dorsett
Benoit Pouliot-Dominic Moore-Arron Asham
Gross noted that Derick Brassard is taking a maintenance day after taking a shot off the leg last night, and that he will take Pyatt’s spot in the lineup for tomorrow’s game.
Per Larry Brooks, Benoit Pouliot’s time in the lineup has come to an end. The recently recalled J.T. Miller will take his spot in the lineup, skating with Derick Brassard and Carl Hagelin. The other lineup change is Justin Falk in for Michael Del Zotto. It appears Alain Vigneault is matching Del Zotto and Falk based on opposition. The Devils have a little more snarl in the lineup, so the tougher Falk dresses.
Derek Dorsett is still battling wrist issues, and is not playing tonight.