After playing Friday in Philadelphia, Mats Zuccarello was out of the lineup again Saturday afternoon in the Rangers’ 5-3 loss to the Capitals.
Coach David Quinn insisted that Zuccarello is fine. The team just didn’t want him playing on consecutive days as he tries to return from a groin strain.
“Two games, back-to-back, so we’re just being cautious,’’ Quinn said, adding that Zuccarello felt fine after Friday’s game and declared himself available for Saturday.
The plan always had been to not play him in both weekend games. “We kind of chose, get him in, play him [Friday], not go back-to-back,’’ Quinn said.
Taking Zuccarello’s place in the lineup was Tim Gettinger, 20, who was called up from AHL Hartford on Friday after the game against the Flyers. Gettinger, the Rangers’ fifth-round pick in the 2016 draft, was tied for the team lead in goals at Hartford with seven in 20 games. He also had four assists.
Gettinger started the game on the fourth line, playing left wing with center Lias Andersson and right wing Steven Fogarty.
“I liked a lot what I saw in preseason,’’ Quinn said of Gettinger, who is 6-6 and 220 pounds. “He’s a rangy kid, he works hard, he’s got good stick skills and he’s done a real good job down there, so this certainly has been a warranted call-up.’’
After the game, Gettinger was returned to Hartford. He was credited with five hits and a blocked shot in seven minutes.
D Brendan Smith returned after sitting out the previous two games and five of the previous seven. He took the place of Tony DeAngelo, who had played 13 straight games. Smith, a lefthanded shot, played in DeAngelo’s spot at right defense alongside DeAngelo’s partner, Brady Skjei, and had an assist in 16:58 . . . Fredrik Claesson celebrated his 26th birthday Saturday. It wasn’t a happy one, though: He was on ice for three goals against (minus-3) and played 13:51, the least of any defenseman.