Brendan Lemieux suffered a broken hand in the Rangers’ 5-3 win over the Hurricanes on Friday night, coach David Quinn said. The winger will be out indefinitely.
“That’s a tough one to swallow for us,’’ Quinn said.
He intimated that the Rangers will make a roster move, though one has not been discussed. The team is carrying 22 players, one under the 23-man limit, but it has only one extra forward, Micheal Haley. The other extra is defenseman Libor Hajek, who is out with a right knee sprain that caused him to miss his 10th straight game Friday. He skated in the morning for the first time since he was injured Dec. 5.
The decade of Hank
Henrik Lundqvist was unaware that he had started the Rangers’ first game of the 2010s, against Carolina, and now has started the final game of the decade, also against the Hurricanes.
“Oh, how nice,’’ he said with a wide smile.
“When you talk about a decade, it just makes you feel older,’’ said Lundqvist, 37. “And there’s been so many fond memories. You know, thinking back early on in this decade, where we were as a team and how close we’re to winning, and we were a really good team. We’re in a different phase now, and we’re trying to get back to that place. What can I say? It’s been a great journey.’’
Howden to wing
Kaapo Kakko was back in the lineup on Friday night after missing the last two games before the break with a bruised lower left leg. With the 18-year-old back in his regular spot at right wing on the third line, Brett Howden, who had filled in for him there, dropped back to the fourth line. Except with one change: Howden was the fourth-line right wing rather than the fourth-line center.And that was OK with him.
“I guess every forward’s played every position growing up,’’ he said. “I played wing once last year, with [Kevin Hayes] for one period. And then I get hurt. And I felt pretty good. Just a little bit different responsibility. That’s about all. Just a little different, but I got used to it as the game went on.’’
Howden said he wasn’t sure if Quinn’s decision to play him at wing on the fourth line was an experiment, but he said it was fine if it was.
“Like I said, everybody’s played everywhere, everyone’s happy to play any position, so it’s just whatever the coaches feel,” he said. “As long as you’re helping the team in some sort of way.’’
After the game, the Rangers were set to fly to Toronto, where they will open a four-game road trip against the Maple Leafs on Saturday. They will return after the game, be off Sunday, then practice Monday at the MSG Training Center before flying to Edmonton for Tuesday’s New Year’s Eve matchup with the Oilers. After that game, they will travel to Calgary for Thursday’s game and to Vancouver for next Saturday’s game . . . LW Phil DiGiuseppe, who had been called up from Hartford Sunday as insurance in case Filip Chytil was unavailable for Monday’s game in Philadelphia, was returned to Hartford . . . Ryan Strome skated in his 100th game as a Ranger.