Facing a huge game for playoff implications tonight against the Coyotes, the Rangers could be without three key contributors in the lineup.
Martin St. Louis (flu), Derek Stepan (ditto) and John Moore all missed the morning skate, per Newsday. St. Louis and Stepan are being evaluated and will be gametime decisions, while Moore — who hasn’t played since Friday’s win over Columbus — is almost certainly out (with concussion symptoms).
The losses would be huge for New York, obviously. While St. Louis has struggled since coming over from Tampa Bay, he’s still an elite-level scorer while Stepan has been red-hot since the Sochi Olympics, with 13 points in 15 games.
If either can’t go, recently-signed NCAA standout Ryan Haggerty — RPI’s leading scorer this season — could possibly make his NHL debut.
The Rangers are in desperation mode and calling tonight’s game a virtual must-win. While they sit third in the Metropolitan Division heading into Monday’s play, they’re only three points up on Washington with 10 games to play and will play five of their final eight games away from MSG.
Given that all games are big from here on out, expect to see Henrik Lundqvist exclusively in goal down the stretch. Head coach Alain Vigneault suggested as much following Saturday’s 2-0 win over New Jersey, in which Lundqvist stopped all 21 shots faced for the shutout.
“Hank’s our guy,” Vigneault said, per the New York Daily News. “If we’re going to get in — everybody’s winning right now — it’s (going to be) because Hank plays like Hank.”
Update: Vigneault said the team would call up JT Miller from AHL Hartford on an emergency basis.