Coach Alain Vigneault, on a conference call late this afternoon:
“In my estimation, it’s very good to have a shutdown pair, a pair of defensemen who can play against the other team’s top offensive players. I also like to have a pair of defensemen to play with my top forwards, two guys who can move the puck and play with the top offensive players. It’s a combination of different things. If you look at what is considered our top six D, I’ve played Michael (Del Zotto) with Marc Staal, I’ve played Dan (Girardi) with Ryan (McDonagh) and I’ve played John Moore with (Anton) Stralman. That’s worked out well for us. That’s exactly how we practiced and we’ll continue in that fashion for a little bit. There might be some changes but I like the fact that Michael can step into the attack and he’s got Marc Staal behind him, a high percentage, two-way defenseman.”
Brian Boyle is still at center, but...
“I haven’t finalized the lineup for the next two games but there is a strong possibility that, with four games in five nights, I will try him on the wing. I’ve really liked what I’ve seen from Brian in the middle. I would like to see him on the wing."
On the rehabbing Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin, recovering from left shoulder surgeries. They are not taking contact, but "doing everything else" in drills and practices. No timetable for contact, but as far as shooting, "it appears Callahan is putting his full weight into shots; Hagelin is shooting with “more of a controlled motion.”
Prospects Oscar Lindberg and Danny Kristo are skating with the veterans in one group.
Chris Kreider-Brad Richards-Rick Nash and Benoit Pouilot-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello remain together.