the lines at practive today were...
Hagman - Modano - Lehtinen
Morrow - Ribeiro - Eriksson
Lundqvist - Halpern - Miettinen
Jokinen - Barnes - Winchester
Fedoruk - Ott - Barch
Daley - Zubov
Norstrom - Robidas
Niskanen - Boucher
OK, so I hope this is not the exact example for what will be played in the game tonight....
I dont like Hagman with Mo and Lehts, his game fits in much better with ribs and morrow, but I do like Erikkson cracking the top 6 again. ribs, morrow, and loui played well together last year when on the same line so hopefully that will continue. I have to think that the thought process for putting hagman with mo and lehts is the hope that hagman will have a sprak plug effect and get the 2 vets going. Neither have looked very good except for one game this year, and that does not bode well for the season if a player like hagman cannot light a fir under you. Hagman is such a speedy hard warker, and I am very happy that he is regularly finding the back of the net. I think his confidence is up, and he is much more comfortable shooting the puck in almost any situation. Hope it works for the top liners, but I have my doubts.
I am happy that Lundqvist is back in the lineup, he never should have been a scratch for the Chicago game. He has 3 points and the best plus/minus rating on the team (+4). He is doing more than what is asked from him and he gets scratched! wow! I know that Tip wanted to rest his players on the 2nd of a 2 back-to-back games, but dont rest the guy who is playing great.
I am very optimistic about the 4th line listed here. Jokinen has been very solid and I think he will be very energetic with the shorter ice time. I think that the energy guy on this 4th line with Barnes and Jokinen should be Barch, not Winchester. Barch has been playing much more cosistently, even though he is not consistently in the lineup, and is more of a physical threat than winchester. Seeing Barnes and Jokinen work together, I think, will be very good for us.
Most Dallas fans want Miettinen gone, but I like him on the checking line with Lundqvist and Halpern. The scoring pressure is lessened, and he can calm his nerves and just focus on the play. last game he played on this line he put one in the back of the net, and it was a very, very impressive shot. Hopefully that will continue, but he has to continue hard-nosed, physical forechecking and solid defensive play on this line. Look for a solid outing from him tonight, even more so with Lundqvist as he has a chip on his shoulder from being scratched (or at least he should have a chip).
Hitch knows how to play against Modano, so look for him to get locked up and hit quite a bit. This is the other reason I want Barch out there. He can actually win a fight and send the message that the hits on Mo or Lehts, or whoever will not be tolerated. If you have to, scratch mittens and get winchester and ott on the 4th line with Jokinen as the center and put barnes back on the checking line to make sure none of that uber-physical stuff against our vets goes unpunished.
I expect a big game from our checking line tonight. They have to shutdown Rick Nash, Sergei Federov, and David Vyborny.
Prediction: Dallas 3 Columbus 1
DAL Goal Hagman from Zubov, Smith
CLB Goal Vyborny from Nash, Federov
DAL Goal Morrow from Ribeiro, Niskanen
DAL PP Goal Zubov from, Boucher, Hagman
lets see if i can even get close in that prediction.
Please comment and tell me why you agree or disagree.......