Marian Gaborik, the Rangers leading scorer last year, is out indefinitely with a concussion, yet another injury to a forward corps that has been less than full strength for the entire season.
Gaborik, 28, who has been enduring the least productive season of his career, told coach John Tortorella after the first period in yesterday’s 4-2 loss to the Flyers, in which he played 4:39, that he "didn't feel well", Tortorella said. "I left it up to him and Rammer (trainer Jim Ramsay, on whether he could return); he told me "no', and I don't know what the timetable is." Tortorella said he didn't know how the concussion occurred, "not in this game, I'm not sure when it happened," leading to the possibility that the Slovakian right wing, who did not speak to the media after the game, had been playing with a concussion-related symptoms.
"Maybe I shouldn't say that, maybe it did, he's been off and on,” Tortorella said, backtracking. “Obviously I don't know when it happened." Gaborik, he said, was "playing along...I know he's had some conversations off the ice, he just wasn't dead-on, but that's something we're going to have to talk to him and Rammer about." Gaborik will not make the flight to Carolina today for a two-game road trip and a replacement will be called up from the AHL.
Gaborik, who scored 42 goals last season, had missed 14 games this year, 12 in October with a separated left shoulder, had no shots in the loss to the Devils on Friday. Since scoring four goals against the Maple Leafs on Jan. 19, he has found the net just twice in the last 13.
Without Gaborik, the Eastern Conference-leading Flyers scored twice in the second period, including Claude Giroux’s power play goal, to take a 3-1 lead over the Rangers (31-26-4), who have lost eight of the last 10 games.
But the Rangers, playing their third game in four days, tried to muster another third-period rally. Derek Stepan, standing to goalie Brian Boucher's right, did not miss when Marc Staal's shot bounced off the backboards to the left post at 5:28 of the third, and cut the lead to 3-2. For the period, the Rangers outshot Philadelphia, who played with five defensemen after Sean O’Donnell left the game early in the first with a lower-body injury, 15-3. Artem Anisimov almost tied the game with 8:51 left, but Boucher, who made 37 saves, gloved the puck in front of the goal line. Lundqvist was pulled with 1:07 to play and Kris Versteeg added an empty netter with 45.3 seconds left. The Rangers, who did not have a power play, outshot the Flyers, 39- 24, and killed two of three Flyers power plays.
“Unfortunately, it’s the same story, different day,” said Lundqvist. “We come close, we created enough chances to win or at least tie the game. We have to make that extra play, or me make that extra save to be on the right side.”
For only the second time in 13 games, the Rangers had opened the scoring. Michael Sauer’s wrister from the right point hit the near post and when Boucher blocked Ryan McDonagh’s shot, he appeared to lose the puck. Wojtek Wolski, falling to his knees in front, jammed it between the pads at 12:43. But the game, and perhaps Gaborik's season, disappeared soon after.