The Rangers kick off a two game series against the Atlanta Thrashers tonight at 7pm. Both games will be played at home for the Rangers, who badly need the four points. In order to achieve that, Tom Renney has changed three of the four lines.
Avery - Gomez - Jagr
Dawes - Dubinsky - Shanahan
Straka - Drury - Prucha
Orr - Betts - Hollweg
These lines do look good on paper, and I'm curious as to how they will work out. Sean Avery is a playmaker who will provide some physicality to the first line, be able to retreat on defense and feed Jaromir Jagr and Scott Gomez. Maybe a grinder is what the top line needs.
Brandon Dubinsky gets moved up to the second line and is kept with Nigel Dawes. Him and Dawes seem to have developed some chemistry, which is nice to see. Both of them will also be able to feed Brendan Shanahan to get the shot off.
Chris Drury being paired with Martin Straka also makes sense to me. Straka can feed Drury who can hopefully start scoring 7 million dollars worth of goals. Petr Prucha adds to the speed and can finish and pass as well.
The fourth line remains the same, and rightfully so. The defense is changed a little also though.
Tyutin - Girardi
Roszival - Malik
Strudwick - Staal
Both Marek Malik and Jason Strudwick in the game makes me a little nervous. Besides the god awful giveaway at the end of Sunday's game, Paul Mara has been playing much better of late. Maybe it's an eye opener for him, and he'll come back better. Maybe Glen Sather can try to move him or Malik at the deadline and bring in someone of equal talent that may click with Marc Staal or Michal Roszival.
Should be interesting to see how these lines work out. I'll weigh in later on.