It was a bit alarming when Henrik Lundqvist did not practice Tuesday, as the franchise goaltender had said he “twisted” his leg late in the second period of his team’s 4-1 loss to the Sharks at the Garden on Monday night. Lundqvist did finish the game and said afterward that the leg was “the least of my concern.”
But according to coach Alain Vigneault, Lundqvist was expected to practice with the team Wednesday before backing up Ondrej Pavelec, who was set to get his second start of the season Thursday at home against the league-worst Coyotes.
“As far as I knew, he was fine after the game,” Vigneault said of Lundqvist. “He just got up [Tuesday] morning and just felt a little uncomfortable. I expect him back in goal for practice [Wednesday]. I haven’t heard anything different.”
Lundqvist was hurt after Joonas Donskoi scored on an open rush up the left wing with 37.1 seconds remaining in the second period. The Sharks winger skated by and bumped Lundqvist’s outstretched left leg.
On his 22nd birthday, defenseman Tony DeAngelo was sent down to AHL Hartford. DeAngelo had been used primarily as a power-play specialist the past two games after being demoted from the right side of the top pair with captain Ryan McDonagh.
The Rangers placed forward Adam Cracknell on waivers and called up Boo Nieves, presumably to fill the role as the fourth-line center which had been missing during the past two games when Vigneault dressed 11 forwards and seven defensemen. That was a situation that Vigneault did not think was a long-term solution.
“I would prefer to get down to four lines and six D’s,” Vigneault said. “That’s always been the case as far a my belief in the four-line rotation, quick-shift, high-tempo game. That’s what we’re going to focus on.”
Cracknell had been claimed off waivers from the Stars back on Oct. 9, and he had played four games with the Rangers before being a healthy scratch for the past two. Nieves was one of the last few cuts during training camp, and made his NHL debut last year while playing just one game.
Forward Chris Kreider did not practice after taking a shot on the inside of the left knee from DeAngelo on a first-period power play Monday. Vigneault said Kreider “should be fine” to practice Wednesday.
McDonagh also did not practice, but Vigneault called that a regular “maintenance” day and expected him back Wednesday, as well.