Fourth line bolsters what had been a weakness … Mason a maybe for Game 2


Here’s my column on the fourth line from The Journal News and

By Rick Carpiniello

GREENBURGH – Lest you forget what a lack of depth looks like, the five Rangers on the ice for the series-winning goal for Boston last spring were Roman Hamrlik, Steve Eminger, Micheal Haley, Kris Newbury and Derek Dorsett, who was just back from a broken collarbone.

Lest you forget who scored that series clincher, it was Boston’s fourth-line center Gregory Campbell, whose line ran over the Rangers throughout the series. So had the Devils’ fourth line in the 2012 Eastern Conference finals, when the Rangers’ fourth line most often consisted of Mike Rupp, Stu Bickel and John Mitchell, and really couldn’t get off John Tortorella’s bench in big spots.

From December on, the Rangers’ depth and their fourth line were enormous reasons for the run to the No. 2 seed in the division, and their success in Thursday’s 4-1 win over Philadelphia in Game 1 of the playoffs.

“You have to be able to spread the minutes out,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said Friday. “If you want to play a good-tempo game … it seems to me, the teams that have had success on a pretty regular basis — I’m thinking about the Bruins right now — they’re able to throw four lines on the ice and roll it.”

Dominic Moore, Brian Boyle and Dorsett matched Philadelphia’s physical presence in Game 1, established zone time throughout, had some offensive chances, and contributed to holding Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek without a shot on goal. On Philly’s fourth line, Vincent Lecavalier looked as if he’d rather be elsewhere, and Zac Rinaldo, as usual, was just a sideshow.

“We want to make a difference,” said Boyle. “It’s the playoffs. We’re going to come and be physical, and so are they. That shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody. It shouldn’t be newsworthy. It’s not like the first time we threw a hit all year was against Philly. We play hard. We have all year. Anybody who says otherwise is wrong.”

Boyle, who has even found offense in his game during the first round the previous two springs, was asked if he’s a better player in the postseason.

“Yep,” said the free agent-to-be. “I think the last part of the season’s been pretty good. I don’t know what it is. … It’s fun.

“As a line, nothing really changes. It’s almost like Game 83. We know what’s at stake. There’s more at stake, obviously, but we try to go at it as business as usual.”

Dorsett expects more of the same battles from both teams in Game 2 Sunday and beyond.

“We talked about it,” he said. “We don’t want to back away from it. We’re not going to be intimidated by it. We’re all big boys, strong guys, and we can go at them and finish their checks and counter their hits. It’ll be a fun series to be a part of.”

Twitter: @RangersReport

Photo by USA Today.



GREENBURGH – Philadelphia’s No. 1 goalie, Steve Mason, joined the team and practiced at Chelsea Piers in New York City Friday after remaining home and missing Game 1 with what is believed to be a concussion.

Asked if he can play in Game 2 Sunday, Mason said, “I’ll try my best.”

Backup Ray Emery lost Game 1, 4-1 on Thursday. Mason would not admit that he had suffered a concussion on the final weekend of the season, but did say he’d had two prior concussions.

He said he hadn’t been feeling well “a couple of days ago” and that he intends to practice Saturday with the team. Flyers coach Craig Berube indicated that he will wait and see before making a decision on a Game 2 starter.

Mason was 0-4, 4.27, .878 in his only playoff appearance, in 2009 with Columbus.


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  1. Sioux-per-man on

    Morning Boys.

    Late night at the tables, feels like I had to work the night shift.

    Silver will do :)

  2. Sorry, but the NHL and MSG scheduling a playoff game at noon on Easter Sunday is not my idea of what hockey should be about…guess it is about the money and only about the money…when is the next game in Philly?

  3. Lots of talk about how this series isn’t a good match up for Philly and how they’re too into their goon identity that’s done nothing to help them succeed over the last 3+ decades. I agree on both but I won’t get too excited over the first game of what’s still gonna be a tough series win or lose. Would love to have Kreider back btw

  4. Btw great article Carp. It’s been a pretty regular topic of conversation around here about needing an effective 4th line. The endless talks about Boyle the praising of Greg Campbell (by yours truly) and so on and so forth. I think Moore was a solid addition this season and a lot of people forget what he went through and that he took an entire year off from the sport. This rosters kind of been mucked together but certain aspects have come together. Not that I think they’re built to go too far

  5. Oh don’t get me wrong people, this series could go 6 or 7. It won’t be the flyer goaltending that makes it so. It doesn’t matter who they have in net. It’s all on us. If the rangers play the way they did on Thursday, its a short series. If the rangers do what the bruins did last night and allow an inferior team to outwork them much of the game. It will go six or seven.

  6. Good morning, boneheads!

    Nice article, Carp. Also, something to say about stability throughout the lineup, and on the 4th line specifically. Boston and NJ have had that for a few years now.

    The goal by Datsyuk was a thing of beauty. Can watch it many times and won’t get tired of seeing it. But the Wings also earned that win. They played to their strength, minimizing Boston’s physicality by their quickness.

  7. The controversy over Boyle a couple of years ago, was the so called debate on being a 3rd liner or 4th. He was always a fourth and with some grit on the wings it is ok. Better balance thru out. Just use your body big boy and nobody will complain….well almost nobody.
    BTW the flyers are in a worse spot with the goalies than you think. If Mason comes back and gets bombed or is rusty or not all the way healthy, then you go back to Philly hostile and Emery has the weight of the world on him. Only move is to play Emery again. That goalie cycle in Philly has to be maddening! Luv it.

  8. Mason returns and the Flyers yearn for Emery back in the net….I think we’ll see their third stringer before this is over….

  9. If Mason had a concussion, he should be symptoms free for at least a week before he resumes any physical activity. Providing they follow the protocol.

  10. Do you think the nhl will discipline Lucic for his spear to the onions in last nights game?

    They must call it the dept of player safety for a reason.

  11. No, SeeeDubbb. The Dpt of players safety is only required to review upper or lower body injuries. Since the onions are located in the middle, it’s not their responsibility.

  12. ilb, I watched the Datsyuk goal 5-6 times this morning, mostly to see him pick up that trailing pass. Almost makes you wonder if Franzen passed it behind him on purpose. Ridiculous skills.

  13. iManny-O-War on

    I would think it’s already been mishandled, ilb. Mason attempted to make it through practice already and couldn’t. So he’s already resuming Hockey.

  14. Bad hands by Lucic — if Datsyuk were a Bruin, DeKeyser’s onions would be in the net, probably one at each end of the ice.

  15. I picked the series to go 7.

    My mistake.

    But, It will only go 5.


    Craig Berube & the Flyers defense.

    Book It.

  16. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Flyers are looking desperate if they play Mason. He couldn’t practice 2 days ago and then plays tomorrow. His noodle is still wobbly.

    Rangers 11
    Filthy 0

    GWG Brasard

  17. His shot was very impressive too. He waited until three players converge in front of him and snaps it with very little stick motion. Rask picked it up when it was only a foot in front of him. Also, look at what Datsyuk does right after he scored. He is barely celebrating, but instead looks down, concerned, wants to make sure Abdelkader is ok. Where does Detroit get players like that? Typical Europansy.

  18. I noticed that too, ilb. He is such a class act and a pleasure to watch. I think I’d take him gladly at 41.

  19. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Day zook is arguably the second best player in the world, with only the turd in Pittsburgh perhaps better.

  20. Datsyuk said after the game he wasn’t sure if he’d scored. I don’t believe him.

  21. Datsyuk is a super talented player.

    And, great skill…..but,

    He also showed tremendous courage reaching back for the puck and ultimately exposing himself to a bone-crushing blind-side Scott Stevens / Orpick type neutral zone hit that never came.

  22. Rangers can’t get him until they find a year when they have a first-round pick. Then package McDonagh and conditional second. Plus.

  23. I’ll say this. If Zetterberg comes back any time soon, Boston could be in deep trouble. They had very few answers to Detroit quickness. Especially in their own zone. Corey Potter anyone?

  24. Nice article, and agreed…a fourth line that keeps opponents’ best offensive players bottled up in their end is invaluable in this league (well, almost, as your point out about Boyler’s free agency). Offense is a plus, and they have shown that, as well. I had my doubts about Dom Moore going into the season (had remembered him as primarily spunky and good defensively, he’s shown speed and skill I don’t remember from the first time around). Gives us something to cheer about when the opponents’ best players are on the ice, and that can deflate the opponents as well.

  25. I liked the way Detroit plays their defenders wide and forces Boston to the middle thus not allowing them to set up their forecheck. It’s genius.

  26. Love to see those arrogant attitudes and unnecessary nastiness end up on the losing end of the Bruins’ game last night, even if they are my cousins. Wings were careful not to play into the else brawn game of the Bruins and motivate the thugs to further lows. The Bruins tried to manhandle the Wings and it simply did not work. Love it! If the Rangers did that, we’d be talking about lack of toughness, no?

  27. Good point, ilb. Dept of Phlayer Zayphti not rezponzible for izzues of chromozome zequencing or player fertility. Yikez! He should be suspended for that move…read somewhere that another player did the same thing later that evening in another game out West, so apparently encourages copy catz. Later in the game, Lucic simply yanked off one of the Wings’ helmets far from the puck…let’s see him get away with those moves on the golf course in a week or so!

  28. Well, at the end of the day, it’s only one game. Or two. It may look totally different next game. Starting tomorrow. It probably will. Even the most lopsided matchups, including Montreal -Tampa may still go to 6-7. That’s hockey, and that’s why we love it.

  29. boxcareddiehospodar on

    Kills me to say this but:

    I wish Boyle would have played this way the entire year.
    Finally using his size to push people around.
    He is also getting a little feisty.

    Haeglin: softest player in the NHL> could not hit the floor if he fell out of bed!

  30. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    One of the best things about a useful 4th line is it allows AV to roll 4, lowering TOI for the other lines, thus keeping everyone with fresher legs, which allows the rangers use to fully maximize their speed. That is the biggest Ace in their deck. You can’t skate fast in the third if you’re tired.

    I see Vancouver didn’t play last night…must be today…

  31. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Boxcar – you must have missed game 1. Hags was flying and finished out a lot if checks.

  32. I thought Hagelin was physically engaged last game, and has been for awhile. Not to mention he was somewhat involved in that famous 4 min penalty that sealed the game.

  33. boxcareddiehospodar on

    eddie / ilb2001,

    saw game 1. if he finished 1 check that is 1 more than he did all year. Hates going to the corner and shies away from any contact. Will never ever sacrifice his body to block a shot. For a guy with all his speed his contribution is minimal.

    I thought he was going to cry when he took the penalty!

  34. Sather Must Go! on

    Good read on that article Carp.

    Based on ur last post,, I dont recall ur view on the st louis trade…i tght they gave up too much with h to hi pix.. Sather doesnt value draft pix like other GMs who realze young depth is essential is a salary cap-driven league..He just sign sub par college defensemen who dont pan out..

  35. Love to see the jackets drop like a 6-1 drubbing today.

    Callahan looked lost last night. Then again so did the rest of his team.

  36. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Boxcar – I saw him throw at least 4 checks. But I only watched the game twice.

  37. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Hope CBJ wins 23-0. Chasing MAF 3 times after he and his backup play musical goalies from getting so lit up.

  38. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Hags, The Rocket, and Fast were physically engaged most of the game. Especially in the first period when all three hit everything in sight….

  39. Za'rat (TheOtherGuysGreed) Jones on

    Can’t wait for tomorrow! Pozy pozy pozy!!

    Remember to
    always cheer! cheer! cheer!
    Never Boo!! Boo!! Boo!!

  40. ThisYearsModel on

    Sure enjoyed watching Boston gag last night. Between Lucic and Corey Perry, it was a bad night for onions last night.

  41. After reviewing game 1 video, If I were the Flyer game planners, I would look back at a couple of series from 2012 playoffs and model / revise to follow a similar course:

    First – Rangers / Ottawa opening round -after an un-eventful and relatively quiet 1st game, Zonopka makes threats in the press about the on-coming “blood and stitches”, puck drops and within minutes, Carkner does a bee-line straight to Boyle (Dubi gets 3rd man ejection) and Neil follows with an assault / TKO on Boyle several shifts later. Changed the series.

    2. 1st Round – Flyers / Penguins – flyers physically dominate Sid and company and take the series in 5 in a stunning upset.

    Rangers beware, the physical stuff is about to begin. After Game 1 film study, Flyers now believe only way to compete in this series is with the sword unsheathed and ready to use.

    *BOOK IT.*

  42. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Papa – I’m on the can. Rinaldo on the launch pad. T-minus 10 and counting….must sign off and concentrate.

  43. Both teams couldn’t score a PP if their lives depended on it, Papa. This team is different, as Philadelphia found out on Thursday.

  44. Wilbur, Nash, McDonugh, Zuccarello, Brassard, Hagelin and Stepan…..Best if you all have an extra bowl of Wheaties the next couple days.

  45. ILB…. Yes, it’s different series, different teams. But you can expect it, for sure. Whether its successful or not, remains to be seen.

    And, who has a better PP than Pittsburg? Coming into this series, I don’t think the Rangers PP was a major concern for Philly. Hopefully, they can keep it up. The two PP goals were of the highlight reel variety. Has to put some fear in Flyers about playing short handed.

  46. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Rangers might just sweep this series – book it.

    Wings need to win game 2. Rangers must use their speed every shift. It’s their strength and it must be played to….but finishing their checks is equally important….

  47. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    THE is merely biding his time. We don’t need him till later on…Save the best for last.

  48. Eddie, enjoy your Can Time.

    I find in my house, its the only place I can truly be alone.

    No distractions.

    A man and his can….perfect setting to offer a proper farewell to one’s Rinaldo.

  49. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    My Rinaldos have been sent underwater and to a place far far away.

    Can time is the best time. When I sit on my throne, I wear a crown upon my head. At that time, I transform into King Edward VI, Ruler of All.

  50. Or…

    King Edward VI, Ruler of All, King Edward VI, Ruler of All, King Edward VI, Ruler of All.

  51. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Ricardo – good point. The other 2 King Edwards VI’s should never be forgotten. We are linemates. I’m the center.

  52. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Manny – always appreciate the weird….makes for an interesting and never boring life ;)

  53. Lightning look like they hit a wall. They overachieved all year. Palat Johnson of the world being a rookie has caught up. Def can’t contain habs speed and lindback is awful however with bishop the way team played in front of lindback they still be trailing 2-0.

    Cally one day closer to buffalo. When push comes to shove cally isn’t the guy who’s getting the big goal. That’s why for 6 yrs and 36 mil it wasn’t worth it.

  54. King Edward VI….

    Every once in a while, I’ll recycle a Rinaldo or two into the garden. It helps the tomatoes get nice and juicy for the Sunday sauce (sauce = gravy, for the Italian contingent)

  55. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    AV is a masterful coach. Mrs Eddie Eddie Eddie says he sounds humble, sincere, and thoughtful. Moreover, the opposite of “Tarantula” (her word).

    I am impressed with his strategic and tactical plans. The line juggling, for one, has ended. The rangers of my youth rolled the same lines for YEARS.


  56. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Eric, the lack of Bishop to Queen Bishop four, in the Sozin, is why TB is losing to Les Habs, IMO.

  57. King Eddie Eddie Eddie VI on

    Test yet again.

    Ricardo – nice article. Your posts have been excellent of late…

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