Rangers finally can dress 18 skaters, still down key players

MONTREAL — The Rangers had a full complement of skaters Thursday night against the Canadiens for the first time since Feb. 25.

“I’m happy,” head coach Gerard Gallant said before the 4-3 shootout victory at Bell Centre. “I mean, it’s a regular lineup, but that’s really not the issue for our losing streak. It has nothing to do with our lineup. We just got to get back and play good hockey again and get ready to go.”

While they were able to dress 18 skaters after finally getting approved for an emergency recall, which they used on forward Jonny Brodzinski, the Rangers are still not able to suit up their No. 1 lineup.

Fourth-liner Tyler Motte is still day-to-day, according to Gallant, with an apparent head injury that he sustained on a high hit from the Senators’ Austin Watson.

Ryan Lindgren
Ryan Lindgren

He was, however, a full participant in the Rangers’ morning skate on Thursday.

As a result, Brodzinski slotted onto the right wing of the fourth line alongside Barclay Goodrow and Jimmy Vesey.

Ryan Lindgren skated in a red noncontact jersey on Thursday and was also unavailable to play.

The Rangers have been without Lindgren, one of their top blueliners, for five straight games now.

With K’Andre Miller back in the lineup after serving his three-game suspension for the spitting match penalty he earned against the Kings, the D pairs were able to go back to some variation of their normal alignment.

Miller was back on the left side of Jacob Trouba, while Ben Harpur lined up next to Braden Schneider. Niko Mikkola continued to fill in for Lindgren on the left of Adam Fox.

The rest of the Rangers lineup remained the same.

Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad and Vladimir Tarasenko made up the top line, while Artemi Panarin, Vincent Trocheck and Patrick Kane skated on the second line.

The Kids, Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko lined up as the third unit.

Igor Shesterkin earned the starting nod in goal Thursday, marking his 46th start of the season.

The Rangers netminder is now six starts away from tying the career-high 52 starts he set during his historic run last season.

He is also nine wins away from matching the 36 victories he posted in the regular season in 2021-22.

The Rangers will practice in Buffalo on Friday before taking on the Sabres at 5 p.m. Saturday, which will be the first night of a back-to-back schedule.

They’ll travel to Pittsburgh to face the Penguins on Sunday for the first of three games in the span of a week against Pittsburgh.