One-third of the New York Rangers defense went under the knife this week, as blueliners Marc Staal and Dan Girardi both had successful ankle surgeries.
Staal’s was to repair a hairline fracture and bone chip, while Girardi had a bursa excision to remove fluid. Both are expected to recover fully over the summer, and be ready for training camp in the fall.
Staal and Girardi weren’t the only two New York d-man playing hurt this postseason. Captain Ryan McDonagh suffered a broken foot in the Eastern Conference Final, Keith Yandle had a sprained AC joint in his shoulder and Kevin Klein missed the entire first round recovering from a broken arm during the regular season.
Up front, winger Mats Zuccarello suffered a skull fracture and brain contusion during the opening round against Pittsburgh, and missed the remainder of the playoffs.
The New York Rangers are making some defensive pairing swaps in lieu of Game 6 against the Washington Capitals on Sunday.
Chalk it up to matchups or any other factors, but Marc Staal has been reunited with Kevin Klein while Keith Yandle and Dan Boyle will make up one of the most expensive third defensive pairings in recent memory, as ESPN’s Katie Strang points out.
The Rangers’ top duo remains Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi.
Interesting to see this change with New York’s last win in mind, but the Capitals get the last change at home, so it makes some sense. The Rangers have been tough to eliminate while the Caps have had trouble putting opponents away in recent postseasons, so this could be an interesting night.
After missing over a month with an arm injury, New York Rangers’ defenseman Kevin Klein is expected to make his return tonight.
According to Andrew Gross of The Record, Klein will play in Game 1 against the Washington Capitals.
Klein has been out of the lineup since March 11 after being hit in the arm by an Alex Ovechkin shot.
The 30-year-old was having a career year prior to being sidelined.
In 65 games this season Klein had nine goals and 17 assists while averaging 18:29 in time on ice.
Puck drop on Game 1 between the Capitals and Rangers is set for 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.