Murray discusses line changes

Even when he makes significant line changes, Terry Murray typically keeps two players on a line together and changes one. It’s a change but, at the same time, a way to maintain a bit of consistency. Well, all that went out the window today. With the exception of the fourth line, everything got shuffled. Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards and Andrei Loktionov each get two net linemates. It goes without saying, of course, that the point is to shake things up offensively. Here’s what Murray said today about the changes, first in general and then more specifically…

MURRAY: “We need something going on the offensive part of it. It starts with shots. I look at a team like Chicago. They’re leading the conference in goals for, and in fact they lead it by a wide margin. You end up watching them, and watch the game over this morning, and they shoot the puck from everywhere. They’re getting pucks to the net from the neutral zone. A guy like Patrick Sharp is, I would consider a pretty good goal scorer in the league, and he’s putting pucks to the net from outside the circle on a consistent basis. All they’re looking for is to bring people to the net for second and third opportunities. That’s an attitude that we have to get settled on, on a consistent basis, is to simplify the game. Stop trying to do the extra pass, the extra pretty play, trying to beat guys. More pucks to the net. That will get their D turned around, and that brings us in there and hopefully we can feed off it.”

Question: You’ll be getting Loktionov back to center then?

MURRAY: “I’m going to try him in the middle. The game starts off last night, the first shift, and he comes down the left-wing side with a perfect opportunity to get the puck to the net and he looks for a pass. I think he’s a little hesitant right now on that left-wing side, so I’m making the move to get him back to the middle. He had a smile on his face in practice today, and hopefully we’ll start to see the play that we need from him.’’

Question: What is your read on Trent Hunter? He’s had a few games back in the lineup and he’s certainly had a couple scoring chances…

MURRAY: “Some grade-A chances, triple-A chances. But you know what? Last night was his best game. His intensity, his pursuit of the puck, puck on his stick, making plays, he came alive last night and that’s encouraging. I want to take a look at him with Kopitar now, and see if we can build off of that game last night.’’

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