The Stars will do some major line juggling now with their top two centers (and playmakers) out of the lineup, but they'll also undergo a slight change in philosophy, though it might be more apt to call it a renewed emphasis and focus on the "structure" of their game. That's all to say that if the Stars are going to win any of these next five games, they anticipate needing to do it in a low scoring fashion.
"When you're playing without some of your best players you want to keep things tight and disciplined and structured and that's what we're going to have to do," said Glen Gulutzan in St. Louis after the team's morning skate.
"You look at the way St. Louis has played.. that's how they're winning [low scoring, defensive hockey]. It's a good game for us in the respect that St. Louis engages in those type of games and wants to keep it that way as well."
They didn't skate yesterday so this was our first chance to get word on what the new lines might be. Mike Heika talked to Gulutzan today and as best I can tell from the audio the groupings will look like this...
So the "third line" becomes the second line and Michael Ryder lands there. Between the three of them they've scored quite a lot (over thirty goals) so you'd like to think they can find some chances, but it will depend on Fiddler's ability to distribute and Nystrom's ability to make some space out there.
It sounds like the top power play unit will be that Wandell line, and that the other unit will be Dvorak, Fiddler and Ryder. Some penalty kill minutes will need to be absorbed by some guys as Fiddler will be playing his minutes in other situations, and Adam Burish should see his even strength minutes bump up in a big way as well. The Ott line with Dvorak and Burish has the faceoff talent concentrated and will be used in a checking role, so look for them to start in the defensive zone.
Kari Lehtonen in net tonight. Richard Bachman tomorrow. Mike Heika has more quotes at the DMN.
What do you think of the lines?