Whether defenseman Kevin Klein, who is healing from a strained oblique suffered on Nov. 30, will rejoin the team Wednesday afternoon when they travel to Minnesota for the first game of a back-to-back set that concludes Friday in Winnipeg, is unclear. He and Derek Stepan (broken ribs) have been practicing in non-contact jerseys. A decision will be made after Wednesday’s practice.
It may also depend on the health of defenseman Dan Girardi, who was scratched Tuesday night with a swollen right knee, which came from a blocked shot in Vancouver. If both Klein and Girardi are available, Brady Skjei, who made his NHL debut on Tuesday, is expected to be returned to Hartford.
Five Rangers’ No. 1s play in same game
Five of the Rangers’ first-round draft picks — Marc Staal (2005), Chris Kreider (2009), Dylan McIlrath (2010), J.T. Miller (2011), Brady Skjei (2012) — played in a game for the first time since Nov. 21, 1998 when Brian Leetch, Dan Cloutier, Alexei Kovalev, Manny Malhotra and Niklas Sundstrom did so. Also, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time since April 5, 1978 that first-round draftees in four consecutive years played — Dave Maloney, 1974, Wayne Dillon, 1975, Don Murdoch, 1976, Ron Duguay, 1977, and Lucien DeBlois, 1977).