Simply three shifts into his first NHL sport in practically a yr and a half, Vitali Kravtsov suffered an upper-body harm and was sidelined for the rest of the Rangers’ 3-1 opening evening win over the Lightning at Madison Sq. Backyard.
Kravtsov, who began Tuesday evening on the second line with Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trocheck, was hit by Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman and seemed to be shaken up early within the first interval.
After slowly skating over to the bench whereas crouched over, the 22-year-old retreated to the locker room, the place he remained for the remainder of the sport.
“He’s day-to-day,” head coach Gerard Gallant mentioned after the sport. “We’ll consider him [Wednesday]. You possibly can by no means inform a lot early on after the sport.”
Because of the harm, the Rangers performed a lot of the sport with 11 forwards and Gallant needed to jumble up his strains nearly instantly. Alexis Lafreniere primarily changed Kravtsov on the second line, whereas Jimmy Vesey was bumped as much as the third unit with Filip Chytil and Barclay Goodrow, who was double shifting with the fourth line, as nicely.
Zac Jones, skating on opening evening for the primary time in his profession, took Kravtsov’s spot on the second power-play unit.
The Rangers had been already with out Sammy Blais, who suffered an upper-body harm of their preseason finale in opposition to the Islanders.
Whereas the workforce is sustaining that Blais’ undisclosed harm isn’t severe, taking place two forwards this early within the season isn’t very best. The subsequent ahead up can be Dryden Hunt, who was a wholesome scratch Tuesday.
The final time the Rangers performed the Lightning, in Recreation 6 of the Japanese Convention closing this previous June, Kaapo Kakko watched from the press field. He was a wholesome scratch that evening in a shocking transfer by Gallant, who later mentioned it was nearly dressing the very best lineup.
4 months later, not solely was Kakko within the lineup, but additionally he was on the fitting wing of the highest line, with Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad.
“I feel he’s going to be a assured man,” Gallant mentioned earlier than the sport. “He got here to coaching camp and performed an amazing coaching camp. … I feel it’s extra about the best way he got here to camp and performed. I feel he scored three targets in camp, so he’s actual assured from that. … I’m positive he’s excited to play with these guys, but when he was taking part in with [Chytil and Lafreniere], he’d be simply as comfortable. He’s performed nicely at camp and he deserves an opportunity.”
Kakko was sturdy on the puck within the victory Tuesday, typically dominating the battle alongside the boards and successfully digging the puck out of crowded areas. He completed with a blocked shot and successful in 13:37 of ice time.
The Rangers signed Canadian goaltender Talyn Boyko to a three-year, entry-level deal.
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