BLUESHIRT BULLET POINTS: INJURY-RIDDLED BLUESHIRTS VISIT MILE HIGH CITY; FACE AVALANCHE IN REMATCH OF OPENING NIGHT

In Blueshirt Bulletin Main Blog, News by Blueshirt Contributor

Call in the M.A.S.H. Unit!

The Blueshirts are short several key players as they begin their four game road trip.

Chris Kreider remains sidelined indefinitely. And now Kevin Shattenkirk is joining him in the press box.

News broke Friday afternoon that Shattenkirk has been dealing with a torn meniscus since September and will have surgery on Monday. The surgery is expected to sideline him indefinitely. 

Kevin Hayes was originally thought to be fit to return to practice Friday before playing Saturday, but when it rains it pours.

Hayes woke up Friday with renewed discomfort in his leg and did not practice; ruling him out for Saturday. Coach Alain Vigneault stated that Hayes is 50-50 to return Sunday night against the Kings.

Meanwhile, Marc Staal was ruled out through Saturday’s game with the Avalanche prior to the team’s win against Buffalo Thursday night. Vigneault believes that Staal is also 50-50 for Sunday.

With four key guys missing, the Blueshirts recalled defenseman Tony DeAngelo and forward Daniel Catenacci from Hartford.

DeAngelo had a rough start to his Rangers’ tenure at the start of the season and was demoted to the Wolf Pack after eight NHL games.

DeAngelo has appeared in 29 games with Hartford; tallying 13 points (2G, 11A). His 13 points rank second among Wolf Pack defenseman. And in his last 16 games DeAngelo has 10 points; drawing praise for his strong play.

Catenacci was acquired from Buffalo on February 28, 2017 in exchange for Mat Brodie. Daniel has 11 games of NHL experience; all with Buffalo during the 2015-16 season.

In his 23 games with Hartford this season, Catenacci has 10 points (2G, 8A) and 19 penalty minutes. At 5-10, 193 lbs. Catenacci is a scrappy forward who will fill-in on the fourth-line when called upon.

The Rangers surely didn’t want to open their four game West Coast with a makeshift lineup. But in light of the injury avalanche that has befallen the team, G.M. Jeff Gorton and the Blueshirts’ high-command deserve credit for stocking the farm system with players capable of filling-in in a pinch.

In other news, the Broadway Blueshirts assigned coveted first-round draft pick Lias Andersson to Hartford; expect him to make his NHL debut in short order.

DEEP ROOTED CONNECTIONS

With the 14th overall draft pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Colorado selected Kevin Shattenkirk. Before moving on to St. Louis, Shattenkirk made his NHL debut for the Avalanche; spending part of his rookie season (2010-11) in the Mile High City.

Nick Holden played for Colorado from 2013-2016 before being traded to the Rangers on June 25, 2016.

BLUESHIRT FACTS

Mats Zuccarello: The scrappy winger is closing in on more career milestones. He is six goals and six points away from 100 and 300 respectively in his NHL career.

David Desharnais: The diminutive center is four games away from 500 in his NHL career.

Rick Nash: The veteran winger is six points away from 800 in his illustrious NHL career.

PLAYER TO WATCH

AVALANCHE: NATHAN MACKINNON. The Avs’ star center is having a career-year; going nuclear of late with 17 points in his last seven games. Finally the undisputed top-option on offense for Colorado, MacKinnon is running with the opportunity afforded to him by the trade of Matt Duchene earlier this season.

RANGERS: RICK NASH. The Rangers’ veteran winger is scorching hot with four goals in his last two games. Since forming the NZB Line with Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich, Nash looks revitalized. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. The Blueshirts need Nash to be the goal-scorer he’s been throughout his career if they’re going to maintain a hold on a playoff spot.

LINEUP

Chris Kreider, Kevin Shattenkirk, Marc Staal and Kevin Hayes are out.

Tony DeAngelo and Daniel Catenacci can slot in for Staal and Hayes, or fill-in if another player goes down. Either way, Alain Vigneault has options.

The rest of the lineup remains the same.

And look for Henrik Lundqvist and Ondrej Pavelec to split this weekend’s back-to-back set.

WHERE TO WATCH

The game will be broadcast on MSG Networks at 3 pm ET. For in-game coverage check out our Twitter account @NYRBlueBulletin.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Avalanche are white-hot and the Blueshirts are hurting.

While this isn’t an ideal way for the Rangers to begin their road trip, it will provide the team with a chance to show it’s mental fortitude.