"Weíve got some decisions to make," coach Claude Julien said. "So itíll be close to it, but I donít think itíll be necessarily the lineup. [Dennis] Seidenberg is not in tonight. [Daniel] Paille, [Shawn] Thornton arenít in tonight. We need to see some of those guys, and weíll go from there."
That means big pressure for guys like Jordan Caron, Nick Johnson, and Ryan Spooner.
Johnson and Caron will play with Gregory Campbell tonight, and will be the focus of the decision makers on the team.
"Those two guys we have to make decisions on," Julien said. "Other guys we have a pretty clear [idea]. Again that doesnít mean theyíre not going to be on, but we know exactly what we get from some of those other players."
Spooner might actually center the top line tonight, because David Krejci may not be able to skate because of back spasms. That would give Spooner a good opportunity to continue his impressive preseason.
The area the brass has had the most trouble with has been the goalies. Tuukka Rask, who is still scheduled to play all of tonight's game, is set in stone as the starter. But behind him Niklas Svedberg has made a good bid to be the backup.
"It's not easy," Julien said. "It hasn't been easy, especially in the goaltending area. Thatís where itís been the toughest. It doesnít take much to sway one way or another. Letís be honest here, Svedbergís played well. So did Johnson in that Detroit game. What maybe tarnished I guess his camp a little bit was that game in Montreal where he just had an average half-game.
"So at the end of the day weíre going to have to make some decisions. Itíll go into a lot of discussions about a lot of things. As you know itís not just hockey, itís about development, sometimes about cap. There are a lot of things that come into play. So those are decisions that weíll certainly make along the way."