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Rangers' Jesper Fast out for Game 2 after taking big hit in series opener

Rangers right wing Jesper Fast looks on against

Rangers right wing Jesper Fast looks on against the St. Louis Blues in the third period of an NHL hockey game at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Jesper Fast, who took a big hit from ex-teammate Brady Skjei on the first shift of Game 1, will not play in Game 2 of the best-of-five series, coach David Quinn said.

Fast was hit in the neutral zone, 32 seconds in, by Skjei. He stayed on the ice, but appeared unsteady, and Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin skated behind him and scored the game’s first goal 61 seconds in. Fast left the game after that and did not return.

Quinn said moving Kaapo Kakko up from the third line into Fast’s spot on the second line, with Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome, is “something we're certainly kicking around.’’ Quinn experimented with Kakko, who has played well in training camp, on that line during the exhibition game Wednesday against the Islanders, and played him there some in Game 1 after Fast left.

With forward Brendan Lemieux still serving his two-game suspension and not available to take Fast’s spot in the lineup, Hartford players Steven Fogarty and Vitali Kravtsov practiced with the team Sunday.

Fogarty, 27, was Hartford’s captain, and was their third leading scorer with 13 goals and 37 points in 54 games. He played seven games with the Rangers during the season.

Kravtsov, 20, was the first of three first round picks (ninth overall) by the Rangers in 2018. He struggled at the start of the 2019-20 season in Hartford and went back home to Russia for a while before returning. He played 39 games for Hartford and scored six goals with nine assists, and had a strong training camp before the Rangers went to Toronto. He has not played an NHL game.

Zibanejad, DeAngelo miss practice

Mika Zibanejad, who led all skaters with 25:08 ice time in Game 1, and D Tony DeAngelo (19:23, two shots) did not practice, but Quinn said both will be available for Game 2. DeAngelo, the point man on the first power play unit and the top scoring defensemen in the regular season, also did not practice Friday.

New York Sports