Minneapolis, MN – The Rink Rats surged to a 3-0 lead in last night’s first period against the Toronto Stallions and never looked back. Ryan Miller stopped 30 of 31 shots and was looking pretty good for the shutout until Matt Stajan’s goal halfway through the 3rd period of play. A total team effort was the key to Minnesota’s success as the goal scoring was spread out between every line and the defense contributed in coach, Dan Bylsma’s up-tempo offense. Immediately following Minnesota’s win, they boarded a plane to Las Vegas where they will meet the Bulls for the first time since upsetting them in the 1st round of last year’s playoffs.
“The upcoming games will be a good test for us,” stated goaltender Ryan Miller. “The Bulls are a different team than the one we played last year in the playoffs. They’re much better and faster. They have a lot of offensive weapons on that club and our defense is going to have to play tough. It’ll be interesting to see how we matchup against them.”
The Rink Rats have some players nursing minor injuries and day-to-day battling the flu. Derek Roy has been nursing a minor wrist injury that has prevented him from finding his scoring touch while Matthew Lombardi and Mike Cammalleri are battling the flu and are probable for tonight’s game.
The Rink Rats have discussed trying out some different line combinations specifically for offensive teams like the Bulls. At this morning’s skate Minnesota had Jamal Mayers skating on the squad’s first line practice with Daymond Langkow and Derek Roy. Shane Hnidy, who has played every game but generally skates strictly on the penalty kill, skated on the team’s second defensive line in practice with John-Michael Liles while Jordan Leopold wasn’t paired leading us to believe he will be a healthy scratch again in favor of rookie Keaton Ellerby. Lombardi was moved to the team’s 4th line with Martin Rucinsky and Martin Straka.