BOSTON - Do the Rangers miss injured center Derek Stepan, the team's fourth-leading scorer (6-21-27 in 28 games), who was scratched against the Bruins? Absolutely.
Stepan suffered an upper-body injury against the Islanders Tuesday night. "I haven't talked to [the trainer] but I'm told he had a better day [Thursday]," Alain Vigneault said before Thursday night's game. "He's day-to-day."
Stepan was at TD Garden in the morning receiving treatment. Asked how he felt, he said: "Good." It was unclear if he will dress against the Blue Jackets Friday night.
During the first period against the Isles, MSG broadcasters reported that Stepan was slashed on the right hand. He played only 2:22 in the second period and was not on the bench in the third.
No love lostIt was a nasty game against the Bruins at times.
The Rangers' Chris Kreider boarded Carl Soderberg at 6:13 of the third and Chris Kelly skated over to retaliate, dropping the gloves with Kreider, who rarely fights. "Spur-of-the-moment, bang-bang play. The way they play, there's going to be confrontations," said Kreider, who received seven minutes in penalties. Kelly was assessed 17.
Derick Brassard appeared to be slew-footed by Brad Marchand during a power play at 13:55 of the second period. The officials made no call. "It was obvious to me," Vigneault said. "We'll let the league take care of that."
Henrik sits one outHenrik Lundqvist, whose ironman streak against the Bruins was snapped, will start against the Blue Jackets tonight and the Penguins on Sunday afternoon. Cam Talbot was the first Rangers goalie other than Lundqvist to start against Boston since Kevin Weekes on April 8, 2006.
Lundqvist had played 30 consecutive regular-season and five straight playoff games against the Bruins dating to Jan. 3, 2007. He was 21-10-2 with a 1.83 GAA, .937 GAA and six shutouts against Boston.