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Defenseman Kevin Klein isn't close to returning to the Rangers' lineup

Kevin Klein of the Rangers shoots the puck

Kevin Klein of the Rangers shoots the puck against the Nashville Predators at Madison Square Garden on Monday, March 2, 2015. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Rangers, with their recent defensive woes, certainly could use injured Kevin Klein back in the lineup.

The rugged Klein, whose arm was broken by Alex Ovechkin's shot in Washington on March 12, isn't close.

After Sunday's 5-2 loss to the Capitals, coach Alain Vigneault said Klein will not make the trip to Winnipeg and Minnesota this week. He initially was expected to miss three to four weeks, according to the team, but Vigneault said he is two to three weeks into what will be a four-to-six-week absence.

The Rangers have not been successful in replacing Klein, a righthander who is a plus-24 with nine goals and 17 assists. They have only two righties, Dan Boyle and Dan Girardi, and Vigneault has moved natural lefties Ryan McDonagh, Keith Yandle and Matt Hunwick to their off side while Klein has been sidelined.

Chris Summers, 27, obtained with Yandle in the March 1 trade with Arizona, made his debut Sunday. He was summoned from Hartford as an emergency replacement for Hunwick, who suffered an upper-body injury in Boston on Saturday.

Before the game, Vigneault called him "dependable and safe.'' Summers played 15 minutes, with three hits and two shots, but his turnover on the fourth Capitals goal stood out.

St. Louis close

Martin St. Louis, who sprained an MCL on March 15 against Florida, missed his seventh game but skated again Sunday morning and will make the trip. Vigneault, who said St. Louis is feeling better daily, mentioned potential changes to the power play (0-for-5 Sunday). St. Louis, with 13 points on the power play, might help.

New York Sports