NEWARK – Adam Fox was fine after taking a vicious-looking forearm to the side of the head by Devils forward Taylor Hall early in the second period. Fox initially left the game to go through the NHL’s concussion protocol, but was deemed fit to return to the game later in the period.
“I saw him coming when I turned,’’ Fox said of Hall. “Obviously, it's pretty quick, so I saw him gaining some speed and I tried to chip it by him and brace for the hit.’’
New Jersey was ahead, 2-1, when Fox was skating out from behind his net with the puck. Hall appeared to get up on his toes and hit Fox on the side of the head with his forearm. Fox stayed down a moment, as Brady Skjei went after Hall.
The referees, Chris Rooney and Frederick L’Ecuyer, huddled and ultimately gave Hall a minor penalty for elbowing, while he and Skjei got coincidental roughing minors. The Rangers ended up with a two-minute power play, and Rangers coach David Quinn could be seen on the bench holding up five fingers and saying, “That should be five!’’
After the game, Quinn hadn’t changed his tune.
“I thought it was a five minute major,’’ he said when asked about the play.
Fox said he anticipates he should be able to play Friday when the Devils face the Capitals in Washington.
Haley makes debut
Veteran forward Micheal Haley made his season debut for the Rangers, at the expense of Brendan Lemieux, who was a (presumably) healthy scratch.
On Wednesday, Quinn changed up the lines in practice, promoting Brendan Smith into Lemieux’s spot as the third line left wing. Lemieux, who missed practice on Sunday because of the flu, worked with the fourth line, rotating in with Lias Andersson, Greg McKegg and Haley.
Quinn wouldn’t say whether Lemieux would play against the Devils, but said the decision would be partially based on his recovering from the flu, and partially just a pure coaching decision. Even before the game, Quinn still would not reveal whether Lemieux would play, and said he would decide after warmups. During warmups, Lemieux skated by himself in center ice while Haley drilled with the fourth line.
Lemieux, who was part of the return from Winnipeg in the Kevin Hayes trade in February, struggled with his conditioning after the deal, but lost weight during the summer and appeared primed for a third line role this season. A restricted free agent, he signed a one-year, $925,000 contract on the eve of training camp and reported on time. He started the season on the fourth line, but was promoted to the third line late in the second game, against Ottawa, on Oct. 5. But he committed a key interference penalty in the third period of the Rangers’ most recent game, Saturday against Edmonton. with the score tied at 1. The Oilers scored on the ensuing power play, and the Rangers went on to lose, 4-1.
NOTES: After the game the Rangers headed down to Washington for Friday’s matchup against the Capitals. Henrik Lundqvist is scheduled to start in goal against the Caps. The Rangers then return home to play the Vancouver Canucks at the Garden Sunday afternoon ... The Devils had a goal by Hall disallowed with 12:52 remaining in the third period because the referee ruled goaltender interference. Georgiev had covered the puck for an instant and Hall whacked the glove and knocked the puck in. The Devils challenged the call, but it stood.