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Post by huangjian123 » January 10th, 2019, 6:45 pm

A linesman orders Sean Couturier out of the faceoff circle and Claude Giroux shrugs before stepping in and winning the draw.Two centers on the ice at once is a nice luxury for the Philadelphia Flyers to have.”He’s one of the best in the league at faceoffs Adidas Andrew Hammond Jersey ,” Couturier said of Giroux, who ranks third in the NHL. ”When you start with the puck, it’s a huge part of the game.”Beyond just controlling faceoffs, having depth at center is a growing factor for success in the NHL. Contenders like the Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets and two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins all boast depth down the middle and are spreading centers all over the lineup.The flexibility gives teams potentially game-altering matchups with the playoffs coming up in a month.”You can never have enough center-ice men on your team for lots of reasons,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said.Crucial faceoffs, injuries and defensive-zone coverage are many of the reasons to load up on centers who can almost always shift to wing and not miss a beat. Philadelphia has long followed the model of drafting and acquiring centers and moving them around, and now has nine natural centers on its roster.The Penguins won the 2009 Stanley Cup going with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin Adidas Matt Bartkowski Jersey , Jordan Staal and Max Talbot down the middle and captured it the past two years with Crosby, Malkin, Nick Bonino and Matt Cullen. The free agent departures of Bonino and Cullen left a void that Pittsburgh filled by trading for Derick Brassard and Riley Sheahan to again look like a championship contender.”To have the depth that we have at this point at the center-ice position is I think an important aspect of our overall game,” Sullivan said. ”We didn’t have that coming into training camp. I think our general manager, Jim (Rutherford), has worked extremely hard at making sure that he gave us what has become now I think a strength of our team.”It’s also a strength of the Eastern Conference-leading Lightning, who are overflowing with center options beyond Steven Stamkos, Alex Killorn and trade-deadline pickup J.T. Miller. The Toronto Maple Leafs also roll deep with forwards who play center or have in the past, including Patrick Marleau and recent acquisition Tomas Plekanec.”I can get a can’t-miss matchup,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. ”You’re not scared of any matchup as time goes on.”It’s all about the matchups in the arms race that is the absurd Central Division. It wasn’t good enough that the Central-leading Predators had Ryan Johansen, signed Bonino last summer and traded for Kyle Turris in November; they welcomed center Mike Fisher back from retirement and still have Colton Sissons and Craig Smith.The Jets acquired center Paul Stastny from the St. Louis Blues to add to an already forward-heavy roster. It paid immediate dividends with Patrik Laine extending his point streak to 13 games and Winnipeg cruising along after Mark Scheifele went down with an injury.”We’ll be putting two centers out there for D-zone draws and whatnot Adidas J.T. Brown Jersey ,” said Andrew Copp, who thinks Winnipeg’s center depth stacks up with the best in the league. ”That’s really important, and then just depth with injuries. … Now we’ve got six, seven, eight guys that we can really lean on.”It’s an increasingly popular strategy. The Flyers are vying for the league lead in faceoffs, handling the early-season crackdown on faceoff violations and compensating for a young, mostly unproven defense with versatile forwards.”Being strong up the middle is important,” coach Dave Hakstol said. ”That’s the backbone of every line, so to have guys that are comfortable in that spot I think is important. Playing down low in your zone – there’s so much switching and interchanging that goes on from the wing to that down-low position in coverage, having somebody that’s comfortable being down there I think is a benefit, as well.”Two centers are better than one not just for faceoffs but because the extra responsibilities of the position allow for better awareness in the defensive zone Adidas Adam Pelech Jersey , where wingers typically are only tasked with defending their respective opposing winger in man-to-man schemes. Giroux shifted to wing on the top line with Couturier after spending the past eight-plus years at center and is approaching his career high in points and playing some of the best hockey of his career.”We get a read off each other,” said Couturier, a leading candidate for the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward. ”It’s about chemistry and trying to trust each other out there. Guys can fill in different roles and it’s nice and it helps the team. That’s what you kind of want from having so many centermen is you want to fill in each other’s roles.”Having extra centers is a substantial benefit – if they can handle the position change. Winnipeg captain Blake Wheeler made a rapid adjustment from wing to center amid injuries, but just about everyone agrees it’s much easier to go the other way.”There’s a real quick adjustment to going from center to the wing: figure out how to work the walls and find your point men,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. ”That’s a very difficult change.”— RALEIGH, N.C. — If there has been a good thing about the ebbs and flows through the first two games of the season for the Carolina Hurricanes, it’s that they’ve been able to work through the down stretches.“We’re making a lot of mistakes, but we’re working hard enough to make up for it,” first-year coach Rod Brind’Amour said.The Hurricanes go for their first home victory when the New York Rangers visit for Sunday’s game at PNC Arena.Article continues below ...“I think we’re dictating the pace of play,” Brind’Amour said. “I think that’s what we want to do.”The Hurricanes (1-0-1) have been strong at times through two games, though the opener became a 2-1 overtime loss to the New York Islanders.The Rangers (0-2-0) are still searching for their first victory after a 3-1 loss Saturday night at Buffalo.For Carolina Adidas Thomas Hickey Jersey , the style has been pleasing to Brind’Amour.“If we just keep that mindset and how we want to approach the game, we’ll take it,” Brind’Amour said.The Hurricanes haven’t done much on power plays, but the Rangers gave up two power-play goals in their loss to the Sabres.The Rangers didn’t have much to show for 44 shots on goal in Buffalo, but they’ll have a chance to improve on that when they’re back on the ice less than 24 hours after that outing.“I don’t want our hunger determined by the other team’s hunger,” Rangers coach David Quinn said.With the set of back-to-back games, Quinn said he would split the goaltending duties this weekend. That means Alexandar Georgiev is slated to face the Hurricanes after Henrik Lundqvist got the call for Saturday night in Buffalo.The Rangers are looking for consistent production from forward Jimmy Vessey, who had a strong opening night.“I just felt really confident,” Vessey said. “I think for me taking that confidence going forward is going to be huge.”The Hurricanes are without expected No. 1 goalie Scott Darling for a couple of weeks at the start of the season because of an injury. But the goaltending hasn’t been an issue in the small early sample size.“Our goaltending has been fabulous,” Brind’Amour said.Part of that is the addition of Curtis McElhinney, who joined the team off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs just a few days before the start of the season.It has been a challenging time for the veteran goaltender Adidas Tom Kuhnhackl Jersey , who posted the victory Friday night in Columbus.“I’m always grateful for an opportunity to play any time in the league,” he said. “It was nice to come out here and make a good first impression. … It has been a tough week. It has been hard for me. You step on the ice and everything seems to be normal again.”The Hurricanes scored their only goal in the opener in the final two minutes. Then in the next game, they notched a goal less than two minutes into the game.Carolina rookie forward Andrei Svechnikov has been active in the preseason and the first two games. He picked up his first NHL point Friday night with an assist in Columbus, becoming the third youngest player in franchise history with a point.“He’s up there in the NHL and he doesn’t look out of place,” Brind’Amour said.

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