Things could get chippy in this one. Devils coach Brent Sutter seems convinced that the Rangers have been purposely making contact with Martin Brodeur in this series, and made cryptic remarks after Game 4 that the Devils would begin to do the same to Henrik Lundqvist. As for the Rangers take on Sutter’s opinion, here are some quotes on the issue of crashing the net:
- Coach Tom Renney: “We’ve never said to our guys to go after Marty Brodeur. We’ve never preached that and we probably never would.”
- Brendan Shanahan: “Before we played the New Jersey Devils we preached going hard to the net for rebounds and loose pucks. It’s not something unique to the NHL and it’s not unique to our team.”
- And my favorite quote… from Henrik Lundqvist: “I don’t think we go to the net that hard. Have you seen the Washington/Philadelphia series?”
I don’t expect any lineup changes for tonight’s game, but we will know more after the optional morning skate and after the beat writers have a chance to talk to Coach Renney.
I’d really like to see Prucha get some action. It is very useful in the playoffs to be able to roll 4 lines, which the Rangers do. But, what the Rangers don’t have with this lineup is a 4th line that is a legitimate threat to score goals. If you sub Prucha for Hollweg, with Blair Betts centering the speedy wingers Sjostrom and Prucha, the Rangers would have a 4th line with an actual chance to score. This kind of a depth would be a great luxury and would be a huge advantage over almost any other team in the NHL. No offense to Ryan Hollweg, who brings great energy to the lineup, but he just doesn’t have anywhere near the offensive skill set of Petr Prucha.
After taking the day off yesterday because of a sore ankle, Marc Staal will be 100% for tonight’s game.