As if the Rangers needed another injury …
Mats Zuccarello, who was clipped twice in Saturday’s shootout loss to Winnipeg and was limping around the practice facility yesterday, is questionable for tonight’s game. He will be a game-time decision … if he can participate in warmups.
If Zuccarello can’t play, then the sub is Ryan Malone, who cleared waivers at noon today and would be in an awfully awkward position of knowing he’s about to be sent to Hartford (AHL) and possibly not willing to report, thus ending his Rangers tenure, will have to play. Can’t even imagine how difficult that might be. On the other hand, Malone is playing for his NHL life, so …
The Rangers will be without captain Ryan McDonagh (separated shoulder, out 3-4 weeks), Kevin Klein (foot), Derek Stepan (broken leg), Dan Boyle (broken hand) and John Moore (serving the second of his five-game suspension).
So Dylan McIlrath and Conor Allen, the No. 9-10 defensemen on the organizational depth chart, will play after their recalls from Hartford Sunday. Also playing are No. 7 and No. 8, Matt Hunwick and Mike Kostka, as the Rangers go with just two of their regular top six.
Stepan was cleared for contact Monday, and could participate in a full-contact practice Tuesday and return as early as Wednesday vs. Detroit or Saturday in Toronto. Boyle and Klein could both be back within a week or so. Moore will be back next week.
Cam Talbot gets his second start of the season, and third appearance, in goal against Brian Elliott.
The plan is for Martin St. Louis to move back to his natural position on the wing, which means Kevin Hayes and Chris Mueller will play in the middle, along with Derick Brassard and Dominic Moore.
New Rochelle’s Kevin Shattenkirk is 1-8-9 in 10 games for the Blues, who have won four in a row. St. Louis is 7-0-1 in its last eight visits.
After the game, vote for the Three Rangers Stars in the poll on the left.