Originally posted on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 5/4/12

Late in Wednesday's 2-1 triple overtime win in Washington, head coach John Tortorella mixed up the offensive lines in attempt to spark the game-winner in what was a well-defended outing for the third time in this series. He rolled with those lines through the overtime periods, as the game progressed from the fourth period to the sixth, and these combinations clearly began to wear down the Capitals to the point where Dale Hunter's team struggled to contain the Rangers' forecheck.

Tortorella kept those lines in tact during practice today:

Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Marian Gaborik

Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Artem Anisimov

Ruslan Fedotenko - Brian Boyle - Ryan Callahan

Mike Rupp - John Mitchell - Brandon Prust

I know, you're probably freaking out because Captain Callahan is on the third line. Well don't, because when you consider the personnel that makes up that trio, rather than where they stand in comparison to the other lines, it makes sense to have those three together. Tortorella normally plays his third line just as much as he does his first two, reason being that they are usually his defensive line that can contribute on both ends of the rink.

Callahan and Fedotenko were New York's best defensive forwards in Game 3 and were also effective when skating together on the forecheck. If Brian Boyle can return to playing how he did before being concussed by Chris Neil in the quarterfinals, I think this could prove to be a very dangerous line for the Rangers if it stays together. It will undoubtedly be the most responsible, and in the playoffs, responsibility wins games. 

Also, promoting Artem Anisimov to the second line is a move that's a bit overdue. Artie has been one of the more active forwards in this series when he's received a fair amount of ice time. He came very close to creating the game-winning play multiple times in overtime on Wednesday, and that was while skating with the dynamic duo of Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider (who I'm also pleased to see reunited). 

There will be critics of these offensive combinations - there always is - but I happen to be a big fan of them. It was evident that the Rangers were the better-conditioned team on Wednesday, and the 1-2-3 punch that these lines will bring are the Blueshirts' best bet for continuing to wear the Caps down. 

In other news, Mats Zuccarello skated twice this week for the first time since breaking his wrist back on March 23. Granted these skates were on his own, the Norwegian forward is making progress on the road to recovery and is expected to eventually return to the lineup if the Rangers make it past the semifinal round. 

Remember, the Rangers have been without Zuccarello, someone who was very effective for them prior to injury, for the entire playoffs. Just think of how dangerous this team could be with yet another speedy scoring threat in their arsenal of weapons. 

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Get yours now at TheBroadwayHat.com.

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