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Round Two, Game Two Hotstove

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Matching lines, or the lack of it

New York Rangers v Ottawa Senators - Game One

In a drastic shift from the hard matching in the first game last round, Guy Boucher spent the third period sending the forwards out in a straight four line rotation. Do you think he should stick with that approach for this afternoon?

Ross: I think so, mostly because it seemed to work. Ottawa gave up chances, but they got more and better chances. I'd say if the Rangers are going to let Ottawa crash the net and dig for garbage goals, there's no reason to change what worked.

Callum: All depends on who's playing well. I think they had a big enough rest between rounds that the fatigue level isn't overwhelming - especially with the lack of physicality in Game 1 compared to their series with the Bruins - so they could get away with playing the best players a lot more. Having said that, though, the ideal situation is to roll four competent lines, and that's exactly what Guy Boucher was given on Thursday night. Lines one through four were fantastic and they pummeled the Rangers for the most part in all facets on the game.

Ary: I think as long as the forward group stays as it is, Boucher can afford to roll four lines. This is the deepest the Sens have been in quite some time and there's no real obvious anchor playing regular minutes up front with Kelly out. As Callum mentioned, the ability to roll four lines can only help if the series goes deep -- which is what we're all expecting.

Beata: I agree with everyone else. No reason not to stick with what's been working. It helps us rest our stars, which is always a great thing in the playoffs. I think all four lines have performed very well and I'm pretty happy with how the group has looked so far, even though there hasn't been quite as much star power up front. Also, if the offense is really struggling or we desperately need a goal, there's nothing stopping Boucher from sending out a really good line for a few shifts to change things up and get things going.

Peter: Building off what Beata said, getting our stars a bit of rest early in the series could come up huge if--as everyone seems to expect--this series goes to six or seven games. Since it worked so well in Game One, I expect we'll see Boucher continue rolling all four lines unless (or until) something goes sideways and it stops working. At that point, as every team does, he'll go back to his stars to right the ship.

Adnan: With the current lineup, I think it is perfectly fine to play all the lines in meaningful minutes. But if Chris Kelly or Tom Pyatt draw back in at some point, then I would hope to only play them in very safe situations.

Colin: I'm all for it. It's matches the Rangers' forward depth, plus the decrease in ice time for top players can have them save their energy for later in the Stanley Cup Final series. I wasn't a fan of the strategy at the beginning of the season because it was giving Tom Pyatt way too much ice time. With the current crop of forwards, however, I feel a lot more comfortable. It can't be understated how much MacArthur's return has helped with this.

Trevor: Against a team like the Rangers, you pretty much have to roll four solid lines. They have four lines that can score at any time, and I like that for the first time in a while, Ottawa doesn't have a weak bottom six. I agree with Adnan that if Pyatt or Kelly come back, then I'd like to heavily lean on the top nine instead. But with the current lines, I like what Boucher is doing.