Rangers Adjusting To Injuries; Lundqvist Return On The Horizon

(Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Rangers are playing their best hockey of the season, riding a 5 game winning streak, leading the Metropolitan Division and tied for first place in the League with games in hand against the opposition. There’s just one thing. The Rangers have hit a bump in the road and their injured list has piled up during the course of their recent success.

Henrik Lundqvist

Of course the hardest injury to hit the Rangers was the loss of leading goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist suffered a vascular injury after taking a puck to the throat January 31st during a game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Prior to his injury, Lundqvist was 25-11-3 with a .922 save percentage and 2.25 goals against average.

The Rangers have fought through the injury of Lundqvist with the help of backup turned starter, Cam Talbot. Talbot is 13-3-3 with a 2.20 goals-against average and .927 save percentage since becoming the leading man in place of Lundqvist. Talbot’s run as starting goalie has been impressive, allowing only two or fewer goals in nine of his first 10 starts.

The Rangers have weathered the storm that has come from losing Lundqvist and expect to target his return for March 24th after announcing that he has been cleared to practice with the team.

The big question that lingers in the air once Lundqvist returns is who do you start? Talbot on the hot streak or Lundqvist who has to prepare for the Rangers playoff run.


Kevin Klein

The Rangers have been dominant during the loss of Henrik Lundqvist and will show that they can battle through the loss of defenseman Kevin Klein. Klein will be sidelined for three to four weeks after being struck by a shot on the left arm off an Alex Ovechkin shot with 19 seconds remaining in the teams 3-1 victory over the Washington Capitals. Klein will most likely miss the rest of the 16 regulation season.


Matt Hunwick, Dylan McIlrath or Conor Allen are all potential replacements for Klein. Hunwick looks like the best bet for the team seeing as he did play well when taking place for Ryan McDonagh in the beginning of the season. Hunwick will probably get the start on the third line. As of now head coach Alain Vigneault has confirmed that there has been no minor league call ups “for now.”

The Rangers shouldn’t worry too much about this injury as they do have McDonagh and Girardi playing strong defense as well as Keith Yandle to fill in the void.

Marty St. Louis

Forward Martin St. Louis will be sidelined 10-14 days with a lower-body injury suffered during New York’s 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers. St. Louis has registered 20 goals and 27 assists for 47 points, along with a plus-eight rating in 68 games this season. His game of recent has not been strong, as he has only 2 goals and an assist in his last 10 games.

From the looks of it, it seems as if the lineups for the Rangers will be as follows:

  • Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, Rick Nash
  • Kevin Hayes, Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello
  • Carl Hagelin, James Sheppard, JT Miller
  • Tanner Glass, Dom Moore, Jesper Fast

“It’s been tough to switch the lines because we’ve been playing so well, but I think this will be good, too” – Stepan post NYR practice.

The Rangers have fought strong through several tough losses this season and don’t show any signs of letting up with the additional loss of Klein and St. Louis. The Rangers will most likely have Lundqvist, St. Louis, and Klein all back by the time the playoffs start, making them the team to beat in the East and perhaps what looks like the entire league.