Rangers defenseman Adam Fox reacts after defenseman Patrik Nemeth scored...

Rangers defenseman Adam Fox reacts after defenseman Patrik Nemeth scored a goal against the St. Louis Blues in the third period of an NHL hockey game at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The last couple of months have been an ordeal for Rangers defenseman Patrik Nemeth. But the 30-year-old Swede was happy and smiling after the Rangers’ short practice Thursday, and he says everything is good now.

Nemeth returned to the lineup Wednesday in a 5-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues after missing three games for the birth of his second son, Vincent, who arrived on Friday. And he returned with a bang, scoring his first goal as a Ranger — a huge one that tied it at 3-3 in the third period.

"It was a big goal for us, down 3-2, and he gets an opportunity,’’ coach Gerard Gallant said Thursday. "I’m very happy for him to get that. He’s had a tough last three or four weeks, but he’s pretty excited now with the new baby and everything.’’

"The last two, three months, it’s been a little bit of a grind,’’ Nemeth said. "But you know, that’s all in the past, and I’m just happy everything is good now, and just excited to get going again and be healthy.’’

Nemeth didn’t miss only those three games surrounding his son’s birth. He actually missed 10 of 11 games before Wednesday, at least some of which, he suggested Thursday, were the result of the lingering effects of having had COVID in December.

"I don’t want to get into it too much, but it was tough,’’ he said. "People react differently [to COVID] from what I’ve heard, but I had, like, a ‘brain fog’ and I couldn’t focus . . . so it was tough for a while.’’

But now that is behind him, too, he said.

"Oh, it’s great,’’ he said. "Once you feel like yourself again, you feel normal, it’s an awesome feeling. Because that’s the only thing you want when you’re sick and you don’t feel like yourself. You just want to get back to normal. And now, finally, I do feel normal. It’s great to be back.’’

Notes & quotes: The Rangers placed forward Kevin Rooney on injured reserve with an upper-body injury after he left Wednesday’s game following the first period. Rooney took a high stick to the face from St. Louis’ Vladimir Tarasenko while killing a penalty in the period. Gallant said Rooney is out on a "week-to-week’’ basis. The Rangers called up forward Tim Gettinger from AHL Hartford to take his roster spot . . . Gallant said forward Kaapo Kakko, who is on IR, is coming along but will miss more time than initially was expected. When the Rangers reconvened Feb. 11 after the All-Star break, Gallant said Kakko would miss at least a month, but now he doesn’t seem to think Kakko will be back by March 11. "It’s gonna be another few weeks for sure,’’ Gallant said. When he was asked if Kakko might not be back until after the March 21 trade deadline, he said, "Hopefully just before, but again, I’m not sure. It’s another two weeks for sure. I know that.’’

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