The Rangers’ defense corps may finally be at full strength.
Ryan Lindgren is primed to return to the lineup Tuesday night against the Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden, after head coach Gerard Gallant said Sunday night that he would “bet a lot” the 25-year-old defenseman will be ready to go in the next game.
The Rangers have been without Lindgren since he suffered a shoulder injury on a hit from the Capitals’ T.J. Oshie on Feb. 25.
He’s missed the last 11 games, which is far and away the longest injury stretch of Lindgren’s five-year NHL career.
Despite returning to practice with the team during its last road trip to Montreal, Buffalo and Pittsburgh, Lindgren was ultimately not ready to play and ended up backtracking to individual skates and off-ice workouts.
It was always clear that the Rangers, who managed to go 8-2-1 without him, weren’t going to rush the Minnesota native.
As always seems to be the case, however, the Rangers have not been the same team defensively without him.
“It’s noticeable in the locker room as well,” Mika Zibanejad said a couple weeks ago of Lindgren’s absence. “Obviously, well-liked guy. He comes to work every day. He works, I would say, harder than anyone and just the sacrifice he makes and everything.
“He’s been playing with [Adam] Fox for a long time, the way they have the chemistry. Whenever he comes back, we’re all going to be really happy. He’s a really good player for us, a really important player.”
The Rangers’ first-period performance on Sunday against the Predators etched the club into the NHL history books.
Their five goals through the first 10:01 of play marked the fastest five goals to begin a game in Rangers history.
Since 1994-95, only five teams have accomplished the feat faster.
The Rangers also became the fourth team to score at least six goals in a first period this season, joining the Panthers, Kraken and Sabres.
Artemi Panarin notched three points during the scoring onslaught, the 11th time he has recorded that many in a single period for the Rangers.
He trails only Rod Gilbert (13), Brian Leetch (12) and Steve Vickers (12) in that category.
Zibanejad was named as the NHL’s first star of the week after the Swedish center posted multi-point performances in each of the Rangers’ previous four games.