The Rangers finished the 4-3 shootout win over the Wild on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden down two forwards, after Julien Gauthier went to the locker room with an upper-body injury in the first period and Chris Kreider followed in the third with the same.
There was no immediate update on either forward, but the Rangers said they should know more by Wednesday.
Kreider took his last shift of the game at 10:03 of the third period and appeared to be favoring his arm on his way to the locker room. After Kreider left, Alexis Lafreniere took his spot on the top line with Mika Zibanejad and Kaapo Kakko.
The loss of Kreider somewhat threw the Rangers, especially when they earned a power play in overtime, after Minnesota was called for too many men on the ice. Head coach Gerard Gallant deployed Zibanejad, Adam Fox, Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trocheck since Kreider was unavailable.
Kreider finished the game with five shots on goal in 16:52 of ice time.
Skating in his eighth straight game, Gauthier took just two shifts in the first period before retreating to the locker room. While he was on the ice for the Wild’s first goal of the night from defenseman Jon Merrill, Gauthier recorded one hit in 1:47 of ice time.
While the top line of Kreider, Zibanejad and Kakko has impressed in their second go-around, the second unit of Panarin, Trocheck and Vitali Kravtsov appears to still be a work in progress.
“They’re getting used to each other,” Gallant said Monday after practice. “I like when they create scoring chances and they’re playing their game when they’re playing fast. Kravy has been with them the last [four] games. They’re playing well, but the whole thing is you can’t give up too much, either. Some nights they’re giving up too many good, grade-A scoring chances against. Just make sure you’re creating those, but you’ve got to make sure we’re playing good defense, too. That’s what it’s all about.
“If you’re going to get five chances, you can’t give up six. You’ve got to find that out a little bit and work a little harder defensively. But I like the makeup of the line right now. They’re doing okay.”
Jonny Brodzinski drew back into the lineup in place of Sammy Blais, who was a healthy scratch for the fourth time this season. Without Blais, Barclay Goodrow moved to the left-wing spot and Brodzinski centered the bottom unit.