Rangers Without Dan Girardi in Game 2

The New York Rangers will enter Game 2 against the Pittsburgh Penguins without defenseman Dan Girardi, coach Alain Vigneault announced Friday.

The coach, when asked if it was a lower-body or upper-body injury, replied that “it’s the whole thing.”

Girardi stopped just short of a disaster in Game 1. He finished the game with a 46.9% CF% (minus-2 C+/-) and a minus-2 rating. An injury would go some of the way toward explaining his struggles in Game 1.

In addition to Girardi, the Rangers are without captain Ryan McDonagh. That will make their prospective pairings for Game 2 Dylan McIlrath with Keith Yandle, Kevin Klein with Marc Staal, and Dan Boyle with Brady Skjei.

“I feel ready,” McIlrath said Friday. “I’m very excited. Obviously I don’t know what the lineup will be but I’m just ready.”

McDonagh’s absence continues to hurt, but the absence of Girardi and re-jiggered defensive pairings may be a blessing in disguise. They will need to figure out an answer defensively to the Pittsburgh attack, particularly because center Evgeni Malkin may return for Pittsburgh in Game 2.

In other Rangers injury news, Henrik Lundqvist, who was injured in Game 1, practiced Friday. His availability for Saturday’s game is unknown, but participating in a full practice Friday is a good sign for the team.