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The Rangers win was overshadowed by potential deadline headaches


February 26, 2023 | 8:18 p.m

The chaos that quickly engulfed the Rangers made Sunday’s 5-2 win over the Kings seem like an afterthought.

Encouraging to see Rangers score early and often, with LA being limited to just two goals, Candre Miller’s game penalty and Mika Zibanejad’s injury scare not only overshadowed the final result, but could complicate how the club operates this week before it becomes… Patrick Kane was officially named guard before the trade deadline on Friday.

The Rangers were incredibly lucky with injuries last season and for the majority of this season. Changing that fortune during the most crucial week of the 2022-23 campaign would be a huge headache for an organization that has been ceaselessly jumping through hoops to make moves.

Ryan Lindgren was sidelined with a shoulder injury sustained after a controversial hit from the Capitals’ TJ O’Shea on Saturday, prompting Penn Harbor to wear the suit on the blue line. But the Rangers had no intention of playing Braden Schneider or Ryan Carpenter, who was called up under a collective bargaining agreement rule that required teams to wear 18 skaters if they were compatible.

Rangers left winger Alexis Lafrenière (13) celebrates his goal during Rangers’ first half.
Robert Sabo for the New York Post

The Rangers needed to ensure that the two remained healthy and able to be sent to the mansion for the purpose of obtaining a large space to accommodate a trade deal for Kane.

“We talked about it as a team,” Adam Fox said of skating without Schneider or Carpenter. “At least as a D Corps, we knew we just had to keep things simple. You don’t want to be out there for too long, and then when you get down to four, it’s more important.”

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Limited to just five defensemen and 11 forwards right off the bat, the Rangers then lost Miller when he was ejected for spitting in the face of Kings defenseman Drew Doughty in the first period, which left the home team with only four players for the majority of the game. .

The game penalty is automatically reviewed by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, which means Miller could face a suspension that would keep him out of Wednesday’s game in Philadelphia. If Lindgren isn’t up to play and Miller isn’t available, the Rangers will likely play an abbreviated game since they won’t have any room for call-ups if Kane is on his way to New York.

There was a split second when it looked as if the Rangers would have to play with just 10 forwards after Zibanejad deflected a Doughty shot off his right ankle before the Kings made the game 3-1 on a power play in the second. a period. Zibanejad eventually played the remainder of the game and later confirmed that he was feeling fine, but the sheer possibility of losing first place shows just how delicate Rangers’ situation is.

“I was sick,” coach Gerard Gallant said of watching Zibanejad go down. “I was glad the fans were, too [chanting his name] When he exited the grandstand in the third period.”

Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) was injured during the second half, but returned to the match.
Robert Sabo for the New York Post

However, all the noise didn’t affect the Rangers too much, as they returned to the offensive ways that carried them through their final 10-game point streak. Vincent Troschek scored twice in the second period to give Rangers a 3-0 lead after Alexis Lavernière opened the scoring in the first period, while Artemy Panarin and Zibanejad (on power play) each scored in the third period.

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However, the gymnastics of the Rangers cap to make room for Kane still continues.

After dealing with Vitali Kravtsov to Vancouver and waiving Jake Leschyshyn, who was acquitted and later sent to AHL Hartford, the Blueshirts took a step toward clearing the cap space needed to fit Kane at 25 percent of his $10.5 million maximum hit. But having to call Carpenter out of the Wolf Pack delayed the trade a bit.

Rangers left winger Artemy Panarin (10) scores a goal during the third period.
Robert Sabo for the New York Post

Even if the Rangers want to compete in a reductive fashion, they are not allowed to do so as long as they stick to the limit.

After the game, Schneider was assigned to AHL Hartford, where he will likely stay for a few days to make enough room for Kane by Wednesday. Carpenter will likely be brought back to the Wolf Pack on Wednesday to off the list of moves the Rangers need to make to acquire the longtime Blackhawks winger.

“You hear noises, obviously in today’s day and age, you’re going to hear things,” Fox said. “I don’t know if we’re going to sit in this room and say this is why we lost [the previous four] games. We were rolling pretty well and had a bit of a rut. It was good to get back on track in this game.”

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