Rangers' Kevin Hayes to miss 2-3 weeks with lower-body injury

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 29: Kevin Hayes #13 of the New York Rangers during the second period of the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on December 29, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ – DECEMBER 29: Kevin Hayes #13 of the New York Rangers during the second period of the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on December 29, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

As the New York Rangers continue to try and maintain a wild card spot while also attempting to break into the Metropolitan Division’s top three, they’ll do so without the services of Kevin Hayes for the next little while.

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The Rangers forward suffered a lower-body injury during Sunday’s matinee win over the Detroit Red Wings and will miss the next 2-3 weeks. He was spotted post-game with a brace on his left leg. Matt Puempel could be inserted into the lineup in his place.

Hayes, who has 12 goals and 35 points in 47 games this season, will be a big loss as his line with Michael Grabner and J.T. Miller has been a bright spot for the Rangers. It’s unclear exactly how he suffered the injury, but we certainly can’t rule out the ice at Joe Lous Arena, which Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault called “horrendous” afterward. (UPDATE: Vigneault said during his pre-game availability Monday night that the injury occurred during a play and was not due to ice.)

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And now that Hayes will be out through the All-Star Game and potentially until after the Super Bowl, he’ll have the time to prepare for the awkward meeting between Tom Brady and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should the New England Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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