December 6, 2010 4:30 pm

Good grade for `Z’

The expected return of Alexei Ponikarovsky on Thursday will lead to a fourth-line choice. It’s expected that Kyle Clifford will move down to play left wing on the fourth line, and it’s all but certain that Brad Richardson would center that line. That likely leaves Terry Murray with a choice between Kevin Westgarth and John Zeiler on the right side. It wouldn’t be surprising to see some type of rotation there, with Murray playing Westgarth in games that he feels a “heavyweight” is necessary, and Zeiler in games in which he wants more energy and skating. Zeiler has averaged just under five minutes of ice time per game so far — in three games — but today, Murray had praise for Zeiler’s efforts…

MURRAY: “His first game, I thought he played very well, with his energy and his forecheck. He did everything we would want a player to do in that situation. I know he didn’t get a lot of ice time the other night against Detroit. They’re one of those teams where you have to adjust your lineup very quickly, and kind of shorten your bench very quickly against, but I think Zeiler has done a good job in providing the energy and the physicality. It’s an on-the-puck, hunt-people-down kind of an attitude, and at the same time, playing center — which was the first time I’ve had him at center — I thought he adjusted to that position very well.”

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