Ryan Strome returned to the Rangers’ lineup Monday night after missing four games on COVID-19 protocol. He revealed that he did in fact test positive for the coronavirus and was symptomatic, which is why he needed to be out 10 days.
He had one shot on goal and won 11 of 12 faceoffs in 19:07 in the Rangers’ 5-1 loss to the Flames. "I felt pretty good,’’ he said. "A lot of thanks to the training staff and the organization. They did a great job of taking care of me and got me ready to go.’’
Strome was reunited with his usual left wing, Artemi Panarin, with Barclay Goodrow playing on their right. "We had some chances tonight, and it just wouldn’t quite go for us,’’ Strome said. "I think maybe if we’re able to get one early in the game, it changes the game a bit. Unfortunately, we couldn’t bury one. But it’s nice to be back with all the boys. Hockey is my life, and my family.’’
Kaapo Kakko, who had missed the final 3 2⁄3 games with an upper-body injury and was eligible to come off injured reserve on Sunday, did not return.
Coach Gerard Gallant said he will be back soon. "Yeah, he’ll be — still day-to-day, but he’s doing good,’’ he said.
Barron impresses Gallant
Forward Morgan Barron was returned to AHL Hartford, but he made an impression on Gallant.
"I really liked him,’’ he said. "He played a real good game the other night [in Ottawa] for us and worked hard.’’
Gauthier added to lineup
Forward Julien Gauthier entered the lineup after being a healthy scratch in Ottawa. Gauthier started on the third line with Filip Chytil and Sammy Blais, but late in the second period, he was moved up to the first line with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider.
"I just wanted to shake it up a little bit,’’ Gallant said. "And I didn’t really like the way our first period went. I want Laffy [Alexis Lafreniere] doing more.’’
Greg McKegg, Libor Hajek and Jarred Tinordi were the healthy scratches.