The New York Rangers are a team that have battled injuries all season long; from starting the season without Derek Stepan, too losing their captain Ryan McDonagh to a shoulder injury and of course losing Henrik Lundqvist for weeks due to a vascular injury. They are a hardened team due to these injuries and have proven the kind of depth they have to continue winning games.
However, they will once again be tested up front due to forward Mats Zuccarello being out indefinitely due to an upper body injury. During Game 5 of the opening round against the Pittsburgh Penguins, he took a slap shot to the helmet from McDonagh’s stick. He barely made it to the Rangers’ bench after taking the shot. He has been their catalyst all season long and is definitely a major loss for the Rangers.
He sat on the bench for a few moments before medical trainer Jim Ramsey took him to the locker room for what could only be baseline concussion testing. He did not return that game, and now it appears will not return for quite some time. The Rangers will call up at least one player from their minor league team, the Hartford Wolfpack, just so they have an extra player just in case. He had two points (both assists) in five games of that first round series and was a +1.
However, there is good news on the injury front, defenseman Kevin Klein will be ready to go for Game 1 of Round 2. He suffered a broken arm from blocking a shot from Alexander Ovechkin. During the regular season he was one of the Rangers most reliable defenseman in his own end and even in scoring. He had career high nine goals. He led the defenseman of the team in scoring until his injury as well.
It seems that the head coach will want three right handed shots on the blue line, and Matt Hunwick will get the call to sit. Hunwick has played great in Klein’s absence and has been quite reliable. He was a +17 with two goals in the regular season and has played stellar defense this post season.
The Rangers are set to find out their second round opponent Monday night at the conclusion of the aftermath of Game 7 in the Islanders-Capitals series. No matter what team advances the Rangers will surely be tested.