GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Alex Ovechkin crunched Jesper Fast against the glass Tuesday night during the third period of Washington’s victory over the Rangers at the Garden, and Fast didn’t come out of the collision too well.
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault announced after practice Wednesday at the MSG Training Center that Fast will be out two to three weeks with an upper-body injury. The injury is reportedly to a shoulder.
The versatile forward has five goals and 15 assists, and he’s plus-eight in 59 games.
“There’s no doubt, he’s a big part of our penalty killing and a guy that we can slot from the fourth line to the top line, depending on who we’re playing,” Vigneault said. “He’s a competitive player. Obviously, it’s a loss for us. But it’s an opportunity for some other guys who’ve been wanting to play, wanting to take a role, to step up and get the job done for us.”
The Rangers have several players who are hurting at the moment.
Michael Grabner, their leading goal-scorer with 26, suffered a hip injury in practice when he was cross-checked by defenseman Adam Clendening. Vigneault said the winger’s status for Thursday night’s game at Boston is “up in the air.”
Mika Zibanejad practiced after missing the Washington game with what’s believed to be a wrist/hand injury, which happened during Sunday’s loss against Columbus when he was hit by a shot. The center said it was sore but improved, and that he should be able to play. Vigneault said a determination will be made Thursday.
“It’s a minor thing,” Zibanejad said.
Chris Kreider suffered a lower body injury during the first period against Washington. The left wing did return to the game, but he didn’t practice. It was deemed a “maintenance” day by the Rangers.
“I’m thinking that he’ll be all right tomorrow,” Vigneault said.
Defenseman Dan Girardi missed the Washington game and is out for about two weeks with an ankle injury. Vigneault had thought defenseman Kevin Klein would be able to skate at practice after missing four games because of back spasms, but that didn’t happen.
“I’m hoping he’s going to be able to skate tomorrow,” Vigneault said, “but it’s taking a little longer than we anticipated.”