Stralman gets a chance on the power play

New York Rangers' Anton Stralman checks Philadelphia Flyers' New York Rangers' Anton Stralman checks Philadelphia Flyers' Matt Read into the boards in the first period. (Dec. 23, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

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BUFFALO -- With the power play sputtering -- 25th in the league and 1-for-24 coming into Wednesday night's game -- Anton Stralman is being given a shot on the point.

"He'll start on the first unit," coach John Tortorella said, noting that the former Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman who was signed as a free agent on Nov. 5, "has found a couple of other gears, offensively and defensively. It's time we did that. That's a big part of his game and I think it'll help his game. It's not like anybody else is doing a great job back there."

Stralman, 25, played his 26th game last night and has gradually improved, although he was shoved around against the Bruins and Penguins. "I think early on, he had one gear," Tortorella said. "We asked him to get to another [gear]. He's played quicker, he's defended harder." And in the last 11 games, Stralman has two goals and three assists while playing primarily on the second defensive pair with Michael Del Zotto.

"He had to go through a period of figuring out how we play," Tortorella said. "I still don't think that should hold you back as far as intensity. The intensity should always be there. I think that was a problem early on. I think he has answered that as we pushed him along."

Tortorella also said he would continue using struggling Artem Anisimov on different lines. "In the last two or three games, he's put together some shifts, so you see his game coming back. That's very important to us to try to find a way to get him going."

 

Boulton fined

The league fined Devils forward Eric Boulton $2,500, the maximum allowed under the collective-bargaining agreement, for slashing Mike Rupp in the second period Tuesday night. No penalty was called on the play.

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