Alexis Lafreniere OK after injury scare in Rangers’ loss

Alexis Lafreniere didn’t skate in the final six minutes of regulation in the Rangers’ 3-2 overtime loss on Tuesday night in Boston. The 20-year-old winger took a hard shot from teammate Hunter Skinner off the lower part of his right leg, casting an injury shadow over the Rangers’ second preseason game. 

The Rangers said Lafreniere, who didn’t return to the ice for the brief extra period, was fine and that there is no issue. Despite grimacing in pain while doubled over on the bench, Lafreniere remained with the rest of the team instead of retreating to the locker room. 

The first-overall pick of the 2020 NHL Draft had a strong game skating on the right wing of a line with Jimmy Vesey and Vincent Trocheck. In addition to logging 3:53 on the power play and 1:11 on the penalty kill, Lafreniere jabbed home a loose puck to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead in the second period. 

Lafreniere was also on the ice for Adam Fox’s first-period tally, which came on a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle. Once it became clear there was no need to risk playing Lafreniere anymore, Dryden Hunt replaced him on that line with Vesey and Trocheck. 

Forward A.J. Greer was the hero for the Bruins, collecting two critical goals on a team-high five shots, including the game-winner 1:12 of overtime. The Boston University product also had the equalizer in the second period to knot the game at one-all, likely strengthening his case for a bottom-six role with the Bruins. 

New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox, left, is congratulated by left wing Alexis LafreniËre (13) after his goal in the first period
Alexis Lafreniere was able to celebrate Adam Fox’s tally before departing the game early with an injury.
AP Photo

“Obviously shaking off some rust, traveling in here same day,” said Fox, who logged 20:55 of ice time. “I thought we played hard there, they played aggressive and it came down to an OT goal there. But it was nice to get the rust off a bit and get some game action.” 

Jimmy Vesey, who is on a professional tryout, led the Blueshirts with two assists and three shots on goal in 19:24 of ice time. After scoring a power-play goal in the Rangers’ first preseason game, Monday against the Islanders, Vesey now has three points so far this preseason. 

Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant said it’s possible Sammy Blais, who is coming off an ACL tear that prematurely ended his 2021-22 season, will make his preseason debut on Thursday against the Devils. Barclay Goodrow, who is being held out of scrimmages and preseason games to protect the broken ankle he suffered during the playoffs, should get into a game soon as well. 

The Rangers assigned forward Adam Sykora to Slovak Extraliga’s HK Nitra, leaving the club with 61 players in training camp.