COLUMBUS, Ohio — Defenseman Fredrik Claesson, who left Saturday’s game against the Islanders with an apparent shoulder injury after taking a hit from Matt Martin, did not play in Sunday’s 7-5 loss to the Blue Jackets and will get an MRI on Monday.
Claesson, who has two goals and three assists with a plus-2 rating in 26 games this season, was replaced by Brendan Smith.
Defenseman Neal Pionk, who did not play Saturday and who was a game-time decision Sunday with a lower-body injury, warmed up and then re-entered the lineup. Adam McQuaid was scratched to make room for Pionk.
Smith took Claesson’s spot, partnering with Kevin Shattenkirk, and Pionk took McQuaid’s spot on the right of Brady Skjei. Pionk’s usual partner, Marc Staal, stayed with Tony DeAngelo, his partner in Saturday’s game.
Hayes remains out
Kevin Hayes missed his sixth straight game with an upper-body injury and his status remains “day-to-day,’’ according to coach David Quinn.
Quinn said the Rangers have resisted making a roster move to get an extra forward while Hayes has been out because they keep thinking he might be able to return any day. He said the team will “probably think a little harder at that’’ after Sunday’s game.
If Hayes is not ready to play by Tuesday, when the Rangers host Carolina at the Garden, he could be placed on injured reserve retroactive to Jan. 3, the day after he played in his last game. But if they’re still not sure, and if Claesson is going to be out for a while, they could put Claesson on IR and call up a spare forward from Hartford.
Blue Jackets honor Nash
Former Rangers forward Rick Nash, who was drafted by the Blue Jackets and played the first nine seasons of his career with them (he is their all-time leading scorer), dropped the ceremonial first puck two days after announcing his retirement. Nash and his wife brought out their three children and two of them dropped a puck, one each for Columbus captain Nick Foligno and Rangers alternate captain Staal.