Rangers facilities Ryan Strome and Filip Chytil can be game-time decisions for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final towards the Lightning Thursday night time at Madison Square Garden, head coach Gerard Gallant mentioned earlier than the membership traveled dwelling Wednesday morning.
Despite collaborating in an optionally available morning skate after which taking pregame warmups forward of the Rangers’ eventual 4-1 loss in Game 4 Tuesday night time at Amalie Arena, Strome was a late scratch presumably as a result of lower-body damage that he suffered in Game 3.
Strome took a cross test to the again from the Lightning’s Ondrej Palat early within the second interval of Sunday’s Game 3 and instantly headed to the Rangers locker room. He got here again for a single shift, however determined he couldn’t proceed and missed the rest of the sport.
“Yeah it was real close,” Gallant mentioned of Strome taking warmups earlier than Game 4. “We want to make sure we’re doing the right thing. You got to make the right ones and they’re tough calls for everybody. But I felt we made the right one [Tuesday] night.”
Chytil sustained an upper-body damage within the second interval of Game 4 on Tuesday night time after the Czech middle took a tough hit into the boards from Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman. The lack of two key facilities can be troublesome to beat for the Rangers, however they’ve a real middle ready within the wings and a few versatile forwards within the lineup already.
With Strome unavailable, Kevin Rooney drew again into the Rangers lineup for the primary time since Game 5 of the second spherical towards the Hurricanes. He slotted into his normal fourth-line middle spot between Tyler Motte and Ryan Reaves. Barclay Goodrow was bumped as much as the second line with Artemi Panarin and Andrew Copp.
“He played great [in Game 4 Tuesday night] I thought,” Copp mentioned of Rooney. “He’s a guy that’s been really valuable all year. He made a really good play on the PK [Tuesday] night that led to a grade-A chance. We like our depth guys. Even the guys that are out of the lineup right now could come in and make an impact for sure.”
Both Copp and Goodrow can play at both wing or middle, so Gallant would have flexibility if he needed to rearrange the Rangers lineup to accommodate dropping Strome and Chytil.
Mika Zibanejad’s 24 factors and Adam Fox’s 23 factors are main the Rangers this postseason, with Zibanejad rating third within the NHL and Fox main defensemen and fourth total.
Both Rangers path solely Brian Leetch’s 34 factors and Mark Messier’s 30 from the group’s 1994 Stanley Cup run for probably the most factors in a single playoff year in franchise historical past.