Moments before Sunday’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights, the Rangers announced that forward Jesper Fast will miss the next two to four weeks with an upper-body injury. Fast, who played in Friday’s 4-3 overtime loss to Arizona, did not practice Saturday — the team said he missed practice for “maintenance’’ — and did not play Sunday.
Fast was one of seven players to have appeared in each of the Rangers’ first 31 games. Forward Boo Nieves, who was called up from Hartford (AHL) on Saturday, stepped into the lineup and served as the team’s fourth-line center, playing between rookie Lias Andersson (back in after being a healthy scratch Friday) on the left and Ryan Strome on the right.
Kevin Hayes, who crashed into the boards late in Friday’s game and didn’t return, had been a game-time decision but ended up playing 20:51 (second among Rangers forwards behind Mika Zibanejad’s 21:03). He assisted on all three goals, giving him 200 points in his NHL career. It was his eighth career three-point game and his fifth three-assist game. It also was his fourth straight multiple-point game (three goals, six assists in that span).
After the game, the Rangers recalled goalie Alexandar Georgiev from Hartford and sent down goalie Dustin Tokarski and left wing Matt Beleskey. Beleskey, who had one goal and one fight in four games, was scratched Sunday. Tokarski had been called up Dec. 3 and backed up Henrik Lundqvist in four games . . . Defenseman Adam McQuaid returned to the lineup after missing 21 games with a lower-body injury suffered in a loss Oct. 25 to Chicago. McQuaid was paired with Fredrik Claesson and played 14:18. He was credited with three blocks and finished plus-2 . . . Defenseman Brendan Smith (whose brother Reilly scored a goal for Vegas) was a healthy scratch.