Losing 5-0 in Denver is as good a reason as any to mix up your lines, no?
Nelson - Tavares - Okposo
Grabovski - Nielsen - Kulemin
Conacher - Cizikas - Clutterbuck
Martin/Boulton - Strome - Lee
Coach Jack Capuano had previously said he was reluctant to break up the "middle six" after they had generated several goals over the prior few games, but go scoreless on 40 shots and all bets are off.
One middle line still remains intact -- Mikhail Grabovski, Frans Nielsen and Nikolay Kulemin, who have been a force as a combo. However:
- Brock Nelson moves to left wing for the first time this season. He spelled an injured Thomas Vanek on that top line last season.
- Ryan Strome plays center for the first time this season, where he and Anders Lee appear to be set to work with Matt Martin (unless Eric Boulton makes a surprise experience to renew acquaintance with John Scott).
- Cory Conacher, on the top line through the majority of all 10 games thus far, drops to what could be the new checking line once Josh Bailey and/or Michael Grabner return from injured reserve.
After a third-period experiment in Colorado, the defensive pairings remain unchanged...except a missed key cog looks ready to return:
Leddy - Boychuk
Visnovsky - Hickey
de Haan - Hamonic
Donovan - Strait
If Travis Hamonic is ready in San Jose, the Isles will have their ideal six defensemen for the first time this season, with Matt Donovan and Brian Strait in the pressbox.