COLUMBUS, Ohio — There could be changes on the Rangers’ defense and in goal for Tuesday night’s game against Tampa Bay at Madison Square Garden.
Ryan McDonagh, struck on the right hand by Brandon Dubinsky’s shot late in the first period, will be re-evaluated today. Coach Alain Vigneault said management was discussing a call-up from Hartford and that there is “a good chance” that a player will be summoned. It could be Brady Skjei, a lefty like McDonagh.
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Defenseman Dylan McIlrath has played in 31 games, but not once since injuring his knee against the Islanders on March 6. He’s been cleared to play for the last three games and could get a chance in the next three games, perhaps as soon as Tuesday night.
“There is a possibility that [Dan] Boyle might get a game to rest, but I still feel we have an opportunity to get home ice advantage,” Vigneault said.
Antti Raanta could get Tuesday night’s start in goal in the second game of a back-to-back, but Vigneault did not announce his choice after Monday night’s 4-2 victory over the Blue Jackets.
n Staal excited
Eric Staal was a happy camper, for the team and himself. “We controlled a lot of the game the first two periods, and scoring the first goal is always big in this league,” said Staal, 31, who joined the Rangers after a trade with Carolina on Feb. 28. “I’m excited for me personally. I haven’t been in a playoff game in a long time , so I was fired up to see those two points.”
n LI’s Milano in for Jackets
Massapequa’s Sonny Milano played his third NHL game for the Blue Jackets on Monday night. He had one shot on goal and one hit in 15:14.
How is his relationship with coach John Tortorella? “I’ve made some rookie mistakes and he’s called me out,” said Milano, the 16th overall selection in last June’s draft, “but it’s been great.”
Tortorella certainly has noticed the 19-year-old. “He’s made some beautiful backhand passes,” he said.
Milano recorded his first NHL point, an assist on Brandon Saad’s goal, on Saturday in Raleigh with his mother, Caroline, in the stands. His father, Frank, was at Monday night’s game.
n Blue notes
With three games to play, five Rangers already have scored at least 20 goals. Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider have 20 each, J.T. Miller has 22, Mats Zuccarello has 26 and Derick Brassard has 27. The last time that occurred was in the 2010-11 season.