DETROIT — Center Kevin Hayes, who played only 8:41 Sunday and was walking stiffly with a brace on his left leg in the visitors’ locker room at Joe Louis Arena afterward, will be examined in New York on Monday.
Coach Alain Vigneault called it a “lower-body” injury and said, “Our doctors will take a look when we get back.”
The Rangers host the Kings on Monday night. If Hayes (13 goals, 35 points) is out, the spare forward is Matt Puempel, who is symptom-free after suffering a concussion on New Year’s Eve.
The quality of the ice at Joe Louis Arena, which was built in 1979, was “horrendous,” Vigneault said, and players agreed.
“I know the ice is the same for both teams, but the quality of the ice today was horrendous,” Vigneault said. “When you can’t put two passes together, when the puck is bouncing all over the place, it makes it very hard on both [teams] . . . and makes it hard to put that skill on display. It only took five or six minutes of each period for the ice to be horrible. That had a lot to do with the show we saw today.”
Chris Kreider said: “Garbage ice. And it felt like we were playing in 2001, with the clutching and grabbing.”
Henrik Lundqvist wasn’t injured when Henrik Zetterberg’s point-blank shot at 6:09 of the third period caromed off his mask, so the goalie could joke about it.
“Thought for sure he was going far side,” Lundqvist said of his longtime teammate on the Swedish national team, “but he went high and hit me in the head. When you get hit in the head in a game, you hardly feel it, there’s so much adrenaline. When you make that save in practice, it hurts.”