Stralman Steps Up

Thursday morning Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman was discussing how much more comfortable he has felt on the ice recently, getting the opportunity to be in the lineup regularly with Michael Sauer sidelined due to a concussion. Then Thursday night against the St. Louis Blues Stralman played his strongest game of the season, albeit in a 4-1 loss at Scottrade Center. Stralman was moved up to the second defense pairing alongside Michael Del Zotto, and logged a season-high 20:18 worth of ice-time, while posting a +1 plus/minus mark. "When you are playing good, that's what you hope for---to get more minutes," Stralman explained on Friday before the team took off for Phoenix. "If you do good with minutes you get then you hope to get more minutes to prove that you can handle that. Obviously we came out on the wrong end of the score, but it was fun (to play more). Now i just have to keep working at it even more." After signing as a free agent with the Rangers in early November, the 25 year-old Swede made his debut in a game against the Panthers on November 23rd. It did not go as well as Stralman---who was still working himself into game shape---would have liked; and then he did not play again until December 8th against the Lightning. Now Stralman has played in five straight games, displaying more confidence in both ends of the ice and gaining the trust of the coaching staff. "This is what I like to do---to be active, join the rush---and it's what I have done the past few years (in the NHL)," explained Stralman. "Of course getting the minutes really helps out because it gives me more confidence, and it's easier to make the right decisions out there. I definitely feel more comfortable now, though." Share your thoughts on Stralman's recent play below.