PITTSBURGH — With his injured right hand still mending, defenseman Ryan McDonagh has been ruled out for Saturday’s Game 2 against the Penguins, but there could be other lineup changes for the Rangers, who are down 1-0 in the best-of-seven first-round series.
“I’m considering all my options,” coach Alain Vigneault said Thursday. “At this time of the year, you have to look at all your personnel and who’s giving you the best; at this time, nobody wants to not play well, but some guys play better than others.”
Injuries also are a factor: Tanner Glass and J.T. Miller are a little banged up. Oscar Lindberg and Marek Hrivik are extra forwards.
Dylan McIlrath, a righty, is the spare defenseman. Fellow rookie Brady Skjei, a lefty, debuted in the playoffs in Game 1, filling in for McDonagh. Skjei played 17:08, with five hits and a shot on goal.
“For the most part, I liked Marc [Staal], I thought he tried to make the plays that were there,” Vigneault said. “Danny [Boyle], this was his first game back [after sitting out the final three of the regular season]. He only had the one full practice. We all know he’s been in many battles with this team before. We’ll give him today to recover, have a good practice [Friday] and go from there.”
Vigneault also questioned Dan Girardi’s choice of play when his shot was tapped down and Patric Hornqvist fed Sidney Crosby for a breakaway goal. It was one of 22 blocks by the Penguins. “We’ve got to do a better job, especially in their zone, of putting pucks in an area where that type of play can’t happen,” he said. “We talked about it prior to the series. Sometimes it takes a little while to sink in. I’m pretty sure after that game we all understand.”
The Penguins scored four different ways: On the power play, shorthanded, at even strength and into an empty net.