The New York Rangers confirmed on Wednesday that Chris Kreider’s hand injury, suffered three games ago against the Columbus Blue Jackets, is going to keep him shelved for at least the team’s next five games. J.T. Miller has been recalled from Hartford in the AHL.
Steve Zipay of Newsday says "team doctors are still deciding whether he will undergo surgery."
Kreider has 37 points, including 17 goals, in 66 games this season for the Rangers. He’s scored 12 points in the power play, and gives the Rangers a presence around the opposing net that their lineup needs with his 6-3, 226-pound frame.
Via Newsday, Alain Vigneault talked about that loss:
“It’s one of the things we’ve worked on quite a bit throughout the year,” Vigneault said. “Yes, we like having one guy on each line going to the net a little more, but each guy has to go there, that’s where you score the goals, Where did Brad Richards score his goal last game? He was in front of the net and he tipped it; it’s not easy, it’s tough. If you go in that area, usually you going to get hacked and whacked, but if you want to score and you want to score on a consistent basis, that’s where you’ve got to go.”
The expectation is that Miller will skate with Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night, a must-win game for the Rangers if they have designs on home ice in a first-round series against the Flyers … keeping in mind that neither team is out of the woods yet when it comes to the playoff bubble, as the Rangers lead Columbus and Detroit by four points but both teams have a game in-hand on them; the Flyers lead both by three points and have a game in-hand on both.
How does Kreider’s injury affect the top line? Here’s where things get interesting. Newsday reports that Marty St. Louis will be moved up with Derek Stepan and Rick Nash, with Nash flipping wings to accommodate him.
St. Louis and Nash haven’t played much together since his acquisition at the trade deadline; wonder if this gets St. Louis (3 assists in 11 games with the Rangers) going.