Citing “several sources,” the New York Post is reporting that Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello “will not be available” for the entire second-round series versus the Washington Capitals, and that his availability beyond the second round “is in doubt.”
The Rangers announced earlier in the week that Zuccarello, with a suspected concussion suffered in Game 5 versus the Penguins, was out indefinitely.
If the report is accurate, Zuccarello’s speed and play-making ability will be missed by the Rangers. The 27-year-old finished the regular season with 15 goals and 34 assists.
Veteran winger Martin St. Louis is expected to take Zuccarello’s spot on the Rangers’ first line, centered by Derick Brassard with Rick Nash on the left side.
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.
A quick look at what games will be on what channels in tonight’s Stanley Cup playoff action…
Capitals at Rangers, 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN
For the fourth time in five years and fifth time in seven the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals are meeting in the playoffs. The last two playoff meetings between the clubs have gone seven games with the Rangers winning both. The Rangers won three of four meetings between the two teams during the regular season. John Forslund and Pierre McGuire have the call of Game 1 from Madison Square Garden.
Flames at Ducks, 10:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN
The Anaheim Ducks are looking to avoid another second round loss as they play host to the Calgary Flames in Game 1 tonight. The L.A. Kings bounced the Ducks from last spring’s playoffs in seven games. Meanwhile the Flames are in the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2004 when they came one win shy of capturing the franchise’s second Stanley Cup. Jonas Hiller, who spent parts of seven seasons with the Ducks, will be Calgary’s Game 1 starter. Dave Strader and Brian Engblom will be on the call from the Honda Center.
Keith Yandle didn’t join the Rangers for their practice on Tuesday and hasn’t taken part in a morning skate with the team since Game 2 of the Rangers’ first round series against Pittsburgh. He absorbed a hard hit from Blake Comeau in that contest.
The reason given for his absences was described as an illness at one point, but on Monday overall body soreness was cited as the cause. And today?
“Sniffles,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault told the Bergen Record.
He’s expected to be on the ice Wednesday and even if he doesn’t skate, it’s worth emphasizing that he hasn’t missed a single playoff game. Yandle had two assists and a plus-two rating while averaging 18:24 minutes per contest in the first round.
If he has been playing through something significant, then the Rangers’ quick work of Pittsburgh likely helped matters. This is the Rangers’ fourth straight day off and their breather will continue tomorrow.
Tough news out of New York today — the Rangers have announced that forward Mats Zuccarello will be sidelined indefinitely with an upper-body injury, which the Post is reporting to be a concussion.
Zuccarello was hurt in the first period of Saturday’s Game 5 series-clinching win over Pittsburgh, after taking this Ryan McDonagh shot to the helmet:
Zuccarello left the game and didn’t return.
The loss, if lengthy, will be a significant one for the Blueshirts. The 27-year-old averaged a career-high 17:15 TOI this season and finished third on the team in assists, with 34. The Norwegian winger also inked a four-year, $18 million extension with New York in early March and, last year, was given the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award for being the player who, as chosen by the fans, “goes above and beyond the call of duty.”
In this year’s opening round against Pittsburgh, Zuccarello had two points in five games. The Rangers will take the winner of tonight’s Caps-Isles game in Round 2.