The Rangers wrapped seven of their key players in bubble wrap and tucked them away in the out-of-reach press box when the Canadiens took to the ice at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.
OK, not literally. But the feeling still holds.
It was the only thing to do after a few injuries earlier in the week, and so Rangers accepted a 4-3 loss to the shocked Canadians, who snapped a nine-game losing streak, in their penultimate game. of the regular season.
Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren, Jacob Trouba, Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad were all safe, while Andrew Copp (lower body) and Artemi Panarin (upper body) were sidelined after leaving defeat 4-3 against the Hurricanes on Tuesday with injuries.
This therefore left a skeleton of the usual Rangers line-up, which salvaged at least one basic element from Kaapo Kakko, who was ruled out of the previous four games with a lower body injury he suffered shortly after. long after missing 31 straight games with a suspected wrist. wound.
Still, the Rangers B team went goal-for-goal with the Canadians before Montreal defender Jeff Petry scored his second of the game with 30.7 seconds left in regulation time to secure the win.
Libor Hajek has only played his 17th game of the season and the first since March 12. The 24-year-old defenseman lined up alongside Zac Jones, who was recalled from AHL Hartford earlier in the day to play in his 12th game of the NHL season. .
As for the rest of the attacking group, Jonny Brodzinski, Julien Gauthier and Greg McKegg filled in the last six.
The decision to drop Zibanejad from the roster ended the Swede’s consecutive game streak with 184 games in a row. Keeping their No. 1 center healthy for the playoffs, however, was understandably more of a priority for Rangers.
Since Zibanejad, Kreider and Trouba were out of the game 81 of 82, sophomore defenseman K’Andre Miller is the only Ranger who has a chance to play in every game this season.
Expect head coach Gerard Gallant to play more regulars in the season finale against the Capitals on Friday. The players most likely to blow after competing on Wednesday night are Ryan Strome, Barclay Goodrow, Frank Vatrano and Ryan Reaves.
After Ryan Poehling scored late in the first period to give the Canadiens a 1-0 lead, the Rangers responded less than five minutes into the second period. Reaves scored his fifth goal of the season to equalize, but Petry fired a high one over Rangers keeper Alexandar Georgiev with 8.8 seconds left in the second to regain the lead for Montreal.
Vatrano kept Rangers in play when the trade deadline acquisition beat Montreal goaltender Sam Montembeault with a pinpoint wrist shot from the left circle 4:15 into the start of the third period to tie Game 2 -2.
The Rangers and Canadiens traded goals, one from Mike Hoffman and a shorthanded goal from Strome at 15:41 of the third period before Petry scored the game-winning goal.
New York Post