The New York Rangers have finally found some consistency winning hockey games, but with the Brett Howden’s injury Sunday night, the winning could come to a sudden stop.
Injuries have become the talk of the New York Rangers story over the past week. The injury bug has overlooked the best three-game run the team has showcased so far this year—three consecutive victories which included two shootout wins on the road along with Sundays win against Buffalo.
The Rangers have already been without two of their defenseman, Fredrik Claesson, who has been out since Oct. 17 with an upper-body injury, and Adam McQuaid, out with a lower-body injury since Oct. 25, have skated well in their absences. The Rangers were carrying eight defensemen since the start of the season and were not forced to recall anyone from the Hartford Wolfpack.
During the second period of Sunday’s 3-1 victory of the Buffalo Sabres, rookie center Brett Howden joined the infirmary unit as he suffered a nasty looking injury. Howden was trying to reach for centering pass from Jimmy Vesey and in turn, lost his edge as he stepped on a Sabres stick and hit the boards with the side of his face first he was almost in a complete split.
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Howden got up off the ice but appeared very wobbly and unsure of his surroundings as he was taken directly to the locker room. The Rangers announced he would not return to the game as the third period began.
No other information was made available as Filip Chytil took some of Howden’s shift with the team down a center for the rest of the contest.
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Head coach David Quinn said he was held out for precautionary reasons and though no official word was stated from the organization, it was hard to believe he did not go through concussion protocol as the side of the had was the primary hit suffered.
Howden has had a great rookie season recording three goals along with nine points in 14 games. The center has been successful in every position and scenario the team has asked of him as he has been the shining light in a season that has not had much to talk about.
Following practice on Monday, Howden let teammates and the media know that he was just taking it one day at a time, but wouldn’t elaborate what the exact nature of the injury was.
Center Ryan Spooner was held out of the lineup on Sunday with what was described as a precautionary move due to a slight lower-body injury, though the team was not very concerned about him missing much action.
Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist collided with Buffalo Sabres’ Rasmus Dahlin which caused some concern with the team and its fans. Hank decided to be aggressive on a play when the Sabres rookie can down his right side, as the Ranger netminder went to poke at the puck, he nailed his head on the hip/leg of Dahlin.
The King stayed down on the ice for a few minutes before he was able to finish out the period and the game.
“It was kind of my fault,” Lundqvist said. “When he started going around, I tried to attack him and he kept going, so I think I got his knee or his hip right into my head or neck. So we’ll see how it feels [Monday]. It’s not a great feeling,” he told Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post.
Lundqvist won the game making 39 saves. He now has a 4-6-1 with 2.61 goals against average and a .923 save percentage. He has won the last two games he has started.
Injuries are apart of the game, but the timing couldn’t be worse.
Quinn and his Blueshirts are starting to play much better and these players, all who are battling one injury or another need to get back into the lineup to help the team continue to improve. The apparent good news for most of these players is the team has not decided to recall anyone from the Wolfpack.
Though Brett Howden will probably miss the team’s next game against Montreal on Tuesday, it seems a major injury has been avoided.