GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Barclay Goodrow is OK, and the Rangers can thank their lucky stars for that, given how scary it looked when Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle’s deflected shot hit the forward in the face in Wednesday night’s game.
But the possibility that Goodrow might have been injured highlighted the fact that the Rangers have been operating without a spare forward since Greg McKegg went into COVID-19 protocol on Monday. That might have been a problem if Goodrow or another forward had been forced to miss a game or two because of injury or illness, so on Thursday night, the Rangers recalled forward Morgan Barron from the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Goodrow did not practice Thursday, and the Rangers said his absence was due to "maintenance.’’ He left Wednesday’s 4-1 win over the Flyers with 13:12 remaining after he tried to block Yandle’s shot from the left point and the puck deflected off his stick and went up and hit his eye shield. Pieces of the shield went flying and Goodrow went down on the ice for a moment before popping up and heading straight to the locker room.
Coach Gerard Gallant said after the game that Goodrow was OK, though on Thursday, he said Goodrow needed stitches around his eye. Gallant insisted that Goodrow will be available for Friday’s game against the San Jose Sharks at the Garden.
"He’ll be fine tomorrow,’’ Gallant said. "I mean, I’m sure the eye’s going to close a little bit, but he’s fine.’’
Still, with McKegg unavailable, the Rangers decided to recall Barron, who has six goals and three assists in 15 games for the Wolf Pack. The recall came on Barron’s 23rd birthday.
Hartford’s season is on pause because the Wolf Pack have several players who are in COVID protocol, but that did not affect the Rangers’ ability to recall a healthy player.
It is Barron’s second call-up this season. He initially was called up in October when Kaapo Kakko went on injured reserve because of an upper-body injury. Barron had no points and two penalty minutes in two games in his first recall and earned praise from Gallant for his performance.
The Rangers’ 23-man roster includes two spare defensemen and McKegg as the only extra forward. So with Mc-Kegg unavailable, if there had been a need for a forward, one of those extra defensemen, Jarred Tinordi or Libor Hajek, would have had to fill in.
With a back-to-back scheduled for Friday against San Jose and Saturday against Chicago, Gallant said he likely will use both goalies, Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev. "They’re probably each going to play a game,’’ he said. "I’m not going to tell you who’s going tomorrow.’’ . . . Fourth-line forward Kevin Rooney also got a maintenance day Thursday and did not practice. That left the Rangers with only 10 forwards available for practice.