The Rangers already were short several key players when Wednesday dawned, but in the hours before they were to face the Flyers in Philadelphia they learned of another important absence.
Defenseman K’Andre Miller was added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list, joining Kaapo Kakko in that category and further challenging the lineup.
The talented rookie has emerged as a valuable player, even more so with fellow defenseman Jacob Trouba currently sidelined with a broken thumb.
Also out against the Flyers were Artemi Panarin, who is on a leave of absence, and Filip Chytil, who has an upper-body injury.
"Anytime you lose a player the day of a game it does cause a little bit of a problem," coach David Quinn said before the game.
Later, he added: "You have to be ready for anything. Our guys aren’t fazed by it. We’d love to have all of our guys healthy and ready to go, but we’re no different than most teams in this league.
"You don’t have that luxury right now. We’re just ready to play with the lineup we have tonight and we’re confident in the lineup we have."
Quinn said he had spoken to his team about how in stretches such as his, players get an opportunity to fight through adversity and show mental toughness.
"We’ve passed some tests along the way over the last three weeks and we fully expect ourselves to pass the test tonight," he said.
Quinn said that the team has been in contact with Panarin and believes he will be cleared of allegations made against him by a coach in Russia and that his status will return to normal soon.
"I’m very, very confident in that regard," the coach said.
Notes & quotes: Former Rangers captain Mark Messier announced that his foundation has committed to a $100,000 match program to support grassroots programs aimed at hockey for girls.