...according to John Tortorella, who spoke with reporters after the optional skate at The Rock. That means Enver Lisin and Aaron Voros are healthy scratches again.

                   Perhaps the most intruiging bit of news was that Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubisnky and Ryan Callahan will be on the first power-play unit.  In another strategic note, Tortorella said that if the Devs balance lines by splitting up Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise, he likely will split up D-pair Marc Staal and Dan Girardi.

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                 Marian Gaborik, who didn't skate, said he believed getting the first goal---or any lead---would be huge for the confidence of the team.

             "Definitely we need to get the confidence back as a team," said Gaborik. "It would be huge to get a lead and go from there because when we score a first goal, we’re playing better. So I hope it’s gonna happen tonight."

 

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               Michael Del Zotto, who did skate, told me he probably would wear the extra padding sewn into his long-sleeved undergarment to cover the 50-stitch skate gash over his left ribs for the rest of the season. "I usually don't like to wear anything extra at all, anywhere, but I'm used to it," he said, adding that  he had no trouble twisting or shooting. "It's probably more mental than anything. There's some pain if I get hit in just the right spot." 

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             Naturally, writers and fans monitor the standings nightly, and so do the players and the coach.

              "You can’t help not to, the way things have worked out in the East," said Tortorella. "We can look at it, and I do too, but there’s no sense... because if we don’t take care of our own business, we’re not going to get in." He said he believed the team's focus was fine. "I think for the most part, they’ve done a good job, especially away from the puck, now we just need a big offensive play at a key time."

           Ok, next up for me, a brief trip to the gym. Swing by later....