I just though of something, and I will put all my credibility on the line! (As if I had any to begin with!! )
As some of you may have noticed, Carbo has stick with putting Ryder and Koivu on the same line for a while. I noticed that S. Kostitsyn and Higgins alternate on the left wing during games. But I don't care about those two, what I want to underline is the Koivu/Ryder duo. We all know what they can do, as Ryder had two great seasons on Saku's wing. This season has been the exception rather than the rule, whatever you might say about Ryder's overall hockey skills (Which I think are way better this year, except for the goalscoring part )
I don't care why Ryder decided to puss out this year, and I will not even try to speculate about this. What I will say is that : Ryder will play a huge role in this upcoming playoff run, mark my words. We know he can score, he most likely knows he can score too. After whipping all the regular season's memories away, I think that our Newfie will find new life in the playoffs. No anticipation from any body; the cold streak will be broken. I think that Carbo's plan of sticking with the Koivu/Ryder duo will pay off, big time for us. They won't receive a lot of attention from the other team, yet Koivu is the ultimate playoff beast. But better than that, in my mind (which is currently probing Ryder's mind of course) Ryder will see this as a new start, will loosen his hands around his stick, and will score a bunch of goals...
Ryder is my designated surprise playoff performer this season.I expect him to respond well,and he's extremely clutch in high-pressure situations or crunch time.He'll obtain the opportunity to redeem himself for his deceiving season.
Ryder is a player that I think can take the pressure off of the Kovy/Pleks/Kosty line. They are going to be checked hard and shadowed in the playoffs by the topline or top checking line leaving more ice and weaker players to capitalize on for Ryder and Koivu and Kosty Jr. to play against.
Koivu and Ryder have the best chemistry together, sure Ryder hasn't been on that line this year as much as Higgins and Kosty Jr., but you can see in the past half dozen games that Koivu looks a lot better and so does Ryder. If Kosty Jr. stays on the unit I can see him getting some beauty assists as well because he is such a greater passer...no one on this team except maybe for Kovalev see's the ice as well as him.
Higgins and Lats along with Grabs would be a decent 3rd line, nice grit and size on the wings for waterbug Grabs to manuver about on the ice and set up his wingers and D as well. Not sure if Grabs will see a lot of playoff time, will depend on the opponent. Maybe even Higgins or Streit at centre would be decent along with Lats as well for a 3rd unit?
Can't wait to get into the playoffs, I get goosebumps at the beginning of every Hab playoff game and love hearing the crowd and music....GO HABS GO!!!
It's going to be a lot about our scoring depth in the play-offs. We have to be the team that the other team is checking, we see how we are when we check, Ottawa game 3rd period for example.
A. Kost - Pleks - Kovalev
Lats - Koivu - Ryder
Higgins - Grabovski - S. Kostitsyn
It's going to be tough to shut us down in the play-offs. The Pleks line should be out against the other teams top lines. Let Koivu's line face the checking line.. then Grabovski's line can do whatever the **** you want 'em too.
But I like our chances going power on power rather than checking the other teams top line.