May 5, 2012, 8:30 PM EDT
The Philadelphia Flyers aren’t in desperate mode despite being down 2-1 in their semifinals series against the New Jersey Devils, but with two straight losses, they’re not far from that. Peter Laviolette experimented a bit with some changes in Game 3 and Randy Miller reports that the tweaks continued in practice.
Here’s a look at the most noteworthy adjustments, according to Miller.
- The new top line might combine Claude Giroux with Wayne Simmonds and James van Riemsdyk. JVR has been showing more life in round two than round one while both forwards bring a physical dynamic to that line. That makes it a little different from Giroux’s typical running mates; Scott Hartnell provided most of that before while Jagr presented a nice mix of creativity and puck possession.
- Maybe that formula hasn’t been working well lately, however, as the 40-year-old Jagr reportedly spent time on the third line again. His practice partners were Brayden Schenn and Matt Read, which is far from “chopped liver” for a third line.
- As much chemistry as Hartnell had on the top line this season, the mop-headed winger wasn’t half-bad in the 2010 playoffs with Danny Briere and departed forward Ville Leino. Intriguing winger Jakub Voracek will take Leino’s spot, which makes some thematic sense because the Columbus Blue Jackets (sort of) gave up on Voracek a lot like the Detroit Red Wings (sort of) gave up on Leino.
Keep in mind that these combinations took place at practice, which is far from a guarantee for the future. Most obviously, much was made about Alexander Semin playing on the fourth line during practice yet he ended up getting his typical second-line duty. Laviolette was coy to the press about whether or not the changes will stick.
“I haven’t announced any lineups and we don’t talk about lineups. I wouldn’t hang your hat on it,” Laviolette said. “You can, but I’m not going to talk about it.”
OK, then where should we leave our metaphorical hats, then?
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