Coming out of the Christmas break, David Quinn stayed with the same lineup he used for the previous two games, meaning that for the third straight game, defenseman Tony DeAngelo was the only healthy scratch.
But the lineup is likely to look different for the next game Saturday in Nashville. Several injured players are ready to return, according to Quinn.
Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who has missed six games with a separated left shoulder, practiced with the team on Thursday morning. Quinn said of the righthanded shooter, “He’s close, he’s very close. He’s day-to-day, to the point where he’ll be ready any day now.’’
Shattenkirk and forwards Jesper Fast (upper body, five games missed) and Cody McLeod (broken hand, 14 games missed) could be ready to return by Saturday, Quinn said.
If all three do return, the Rangers would have to make at least one roster move to meet the 23-man roster limit.
Barring an injury, the most likely candidates to come off the roster would be fourth-liners Boo Nieves and/or Lias Andersson.
Andersson, 20, started the season at Hartford before being called up Nov. 6. He has one goal and three assists in 21 games this season.
Nieves, 24, also started in Hartford after he was cleared to play following a concussion suffered in the first game of the preseason. He was called up Dec. 15 and has one goal in five games.
Prospects impress. Vitali Kravtsov, the Russian winger who was the first of three first- round picks by the Rangers in the 2018 NHL Draft, had a goal and an assist as Russia started off the World Junior Championships with a 4-0 win over Denmark on Thursday. Defenseman Nils Lundkvist, who was the Rangers’ third first-round pick, had an assist for Sweden in its 2-1 win over Slovakia.