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Michael Grabner sits for first time this season with the flu

Rangers right wing Michael Grabner skates with the

Rangers right wing Michael Grabner skates with the puck against the Islanders at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 13, 2018. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

DENVER — The Rangers were prepared to play without three players Saturday afternoon, and then forward Michael Grabner came down with the flu.

That left them with five regulars out and another day of patching holes in the lineup. It has become the norm for the Rangers.

“It’s part of being a pro,” forward J.T. Miller said after the 3-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. “You’ve got to deal with stuff like that. Unfortunately it happens, but we have some good players we can rely on to step in and play well.”

Center Kevin Hayes (leg contusion) missed his fourth straight game, Marc Staal (hip flexor) was out for the second game in a row and then Grabner became ill.

Coach Alain Vigneault said Staal and Hayes are “50-50” for Sunday’s game in Los Angeles but he didn’t have an update on Grabner.

This comes a day after it was announced that defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk will undergo surgery on Monday to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and will be out indefinitely.

The Rangers recalled defenseman Tony DeAngelo and forward Daniel Catenacci from Hartford on Friday and both played Saturday. Both were solid, although Catenacci got beat on a play by the Avs’ Carl Soderberg in the Rangers’ zone in the third period but was bailed out on a good save by Henrik Lundqvist.

“It’s great to see guys are coming in make the most of this opportunity,” Lundqvist said after making 34 saves.

LUNDQVIST SURVIVES SCARE

Lundqvist took a hard shot from his own teammate when defenseman Brady Skjei crashed into him in the first period.

“I just got stuck, the post right on my calf,” Lundqvist said. “It was pretty painful for a minute but then it went away so it was fine. There are situations out there that happen . . . it was pretty painful for a second there but it’s all good now.”

SOME FINAL STATS

DeAngelo played 23 shifts (16:07 of ice time) and had a team-high four hits. He had two shots on goal but didn’t see any time on the power play or penalty kill . . . The Rangers blocked 20 shots, led by DeAngelo and Brendan Smith with four apiece . . . Catenacci played 16 shifts in his Rangers debut (11:03 of ice time) and was a minus-1 with one shot on goal . . . Peter Holland won 11 of 14 faceoffs . . . Mats Zuccarello picked up his 25th assist, which leads the team. He also leads the Rangers with 33 points.

New York Sports