Jesper Fast, recovering from a shoulder injury, could play this weekend, and barring injuries, that will mean scratching a third forward.
On Monday, the 25-year-old right wing missed his seventh game since he was flattened by Capitals star Alex Ovechkin on Feb. 28, but he has started skating with extras in a non-contact jersey. The time frame for his return was two to three weeks, so Fast is on target.
“He skated again today,” coach Alain Vigneault said, “and is feeling much better. I’m expecting him to be back with the team [in a regular jersey] at the next full practice. My understanding is that he’s real close.”
Whenever he returns, it might send a fourth-liner, perhaps Tanner Glass, to the sideline. Brandon Pirri and Matt Puempel were healthy scratches against the Lightning last night.
Girardi to resume skating
Dan Girardi, who has been wearing a small vacuum to assist in healing an ankle wound that required stitches and has cost him eight games, should resume skating as soon as Tuesday.
“The vacuum came off today, and if weather permits, he should skate,” Vigneault said. That does not mean that he will jump back into the lineup this weekend, however.
In the meantime, call-up defenseman Steven Kampfer, who scored the Rangers’ first goal last night, seems to have done enough in his limited ice time on the third pair to continue. “He skates well, makes good reads when we don’t have the puck,” Vigneault said. “Pretty physical, been good in his one-on-ones and been safe and dependable.”
The Rangers won’t practice Tuesday, and possibly not Wednesday, before a weekend back-to-back. The Panthers are at MSG on Friday and the Blueshirts visit Minnesota on Saturday.