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Lundqvist, Rangers eyeing a potential March 24th return; St. Louis injury update

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Kind Henrik could be back in net for the Rangers when they take on the Los Angeles Kings on March 24th. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

According to a tweet from The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell, a source close to the New York Rangers organization has told the site that New York is aiming for a March 24th comeback date for star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s return.

The wording was a bit vague, but it seems as if Henrik Lundqvist could be back in net for the Rangers for their game against the Los Angeles Kings on the 24th of this month, which happens to be next Tuesday. The source could have also meant that Lundqvist will be cleared for practice on that date, so the exact date is still cloudy.

This would be a huge return to the Rangers, who are now dealing with injuries to three key players on the team (Lundqvist, Klein, St. Louis). Don’t get me wrong, Cam Talbot has been absolutely superb, but Henrik Lundqvist is a proven, elite goalie. His ability to elevate his game when the Ranger need it most, especially in the playoffs, is what makes him one of the best, if not the best, goalies in the NHL.

If that is the date Lundqvist returns, the Rangers would have 11 games left in the season for him to get back into form, which is a good amount of time. Before the injury, Lundqvist was playing superb hockey, on pace for one of the best seasons of his career potentially.

Since the injury, Lundqvist has been practicing a lot, but not taking shots up high. He has been involved in conditioning, high intensity drills, and some drills with shots. I’d expect him to come back strong when he is ready to return.

Keep in mind, this is not confirmed, so it is all rumors until something official comes from the Rangers. They have previously said that there is no timetable for his return, and will need a few full practices before he is game ready.

On Sunday night, Martin St. Louis left the game in the third period with what looked like a right knee injury. He was tangled up with a Florida player behind the net, and appeared to hyperextend his knee.

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Martin St. Louis will miss the next 10-14 days with a right knee injury that he suffered in the game against the Panthers on Sunday night. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

This afternoon, the Rangers announced that St. Louis would be out for 10-14 days. This is a light week for the Rangers, playing on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. At the bare minimum, he would miss four games. If he misses the full 14 days, he would miss a total of six games.

St. Louis is second on the team in goals with 20, and third on the team with 47 points. He is a key member of the second line alongside Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan. Stepan has struggled lately, but it can be a very potent scoring line at times.

In his absence, quite a few players have the opportunity to step up and prove that they can provide a big role down the stretch.

Any of the third line guys, Carl Hagelin, Kevin Hayes, and JT Miller, would be fine candidates to slide up in the lineup. Carl Hagelin was on last year’s second line, and Kevin Hayes took Rick Nash’s spot on the left wing when Nash missed a game with neck spasms. JT Miller has often gone up to the third line during games when St. Louis or Kreider are having an off night.

All three would be good candidates, but my choice would be either Hagelin or Miller, preferably Miller. He’s earned a shot, and I’d like to keep Hayes at the center position.

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JT Miller could be spending a few games on the second line with St. Louis out for the next 4 to 6 games.

 

 

 

That would leave a spot open on the third line, which will be claimed by either Jesper Fast or James Sheppard. If Hayes goes to St. Louis’ spot, than Sheppard will play third line center. Sheppard played very well in last night’s win, scoring his first goal as a member of the Blueshirts. Fast is a strong two-way player looking to develop his offensive touch.

Tanner Glass will come back into the lineup, and needs to keep providing the physical presence that he brings on a nightly basis. He was playing well before sitting last night due to soreness, and will need to keep playing well.

The Rangers next game is on Wednesday when they take on the Chicago Blackhawks.

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Posted on March 16, 2015, in Rangers Updates, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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