New York Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren looks on against the...

New York Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren looks on against the Washington Capitals in the second period of an NHL hockey game at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

GREENBURGH — The Rangers got a nice surprise at practice on Monday when defenseman Ryan Lindgren skated in a red non-contact jersey.

Lindgren has missed the last three games with a left knee injury, one of three significant injuries the Rangers are facing with their top six defensemen.

Lindgren is not likely to play when the Rangers host the Flyers on Tuesday, but the whole team was buoyed by his presence on the ice.

“He was really strong out there and practiced hard,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “Great to have him out there.”

Defenseman Braden Schneider, who was paired with K’Andre Miller in practice, said of Lindgren: “He’s a warrior. Wasn’t expecting to see him back this quickly, but I’m glad he’s out there. He’s so important to our team. I’m glad he’s back on the ice.”

The other practice pairings were Adam Fox with Zac Jones and Brandon Scanlin with Chad Ruhwedel.

Tuesday will be the Rangers’ 10th straight game without Jacob Trouba (lower-body injury). It will be their first without Erik Gustafsson, who did not practice after taking an unpenalized elbow to the head from Florida’s Sam Reinhart on Saturday. Laviolette said Gustafsson is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

“The guys that have come into the lineup have played really well,” Laviolette said. “Ruhwedel jumped in there and played really well for a few games for us now. Jones has been rock-solid for a long time, playing extremely well with a lot of confidence.
 “Guys moving up the lineup, taking on more minutes, more responsibility — they’ve done an excellent job. And we’ve done it against some pretty high-end-caliber opponents, which is also impressive. We need that. We’ve got guys that are out. We have to have guys step in and fill those minutes and do the job, and they have.”

The Rangers recently played nine games in a 15-day period and went 7-2. After Tuesday’s game, they will visit Colorado on Thursday and Arizona on Saturday. So the games keep coming at the Rangers, starting with the desperate Flyers, who have 81 points (seventh in the Eastern Conference).

“Gotta be ready,” Laviolette said. “This will be a tough one. We already talked about it, addressed it. We know what we’re getting into tomorrow. [The Flyers] are fighting hard for those two points, that’s for sure.”

The Rangers aren’t showing many lapses without the physicality that Lindgren and Trouba bring to the ice.

“We know what they bring to the lineup,” Ruhwedel said. “It’s a lot of physicality. So everybody else is stepping up. Play with a little more edge. Not necessarily to make up for it, but we just know we’ve got to step up and have that presence, too.”

Said Schneider: “I think we’ve done a great job. Obviously, we’re getting some guys injured and stuff, so to be able to get some wins against some good teams, it definitely feels good.”

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