Rangers defenseman Patrik Nemeth looks on against the Maple Leafs...

Rangers defenseman Patrik Nemeth looks on against the Maple Leafs in the first period of an NHL game at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 19. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Rangers placed defenseman Patrik Nemeth on injured reserve Thursday before their home game against the Detroit Red Wings. The team said it was "a personal matter.’’

Nemeth, who turned 30 on Feb. 8, last played Jan. 22 in the 7-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes. He was placed on non-roster status after that game because of personal issues and missed the final five games before the NHL All-Star break. When the team returned from the break on Feb. 11, Nemeth was back, and he practiced with the team every day, but then was left out of the lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Boston Bruins.

Rookie Zac Jones took Nemeth’s spot in the lineup Tuesday, playing on the third defense pair with rookie Braden Schneider, and those two comprised the third pair again Thursday.

Nemeth, who signed a three-year, $7.5 million contract with the Rangers as a free agent last summer, was brought in to be a veteran presence on the third pair and serve as a sort of guide/mentor to rookie Nils Lundkvist, who came over from Sweden last fall for his first season in North America. Nemeth is also from Sweden.

But Lundkvist was sent down to Hartford of the AHL on Jan. 11 when Schneider was called up.

Nemeth has played in 38 games this season, with no goals, two assists, 12 penalty minutes and a minus-12 plus/minus rating.

Blue notes

Former Ranger stalwart Marc Staal made his first return to the Garden since he was traded to Detroit in the summer of 2020. Staal, the Rangers’ first-round pick in 2005, entered the game with one goal and seven assists in 43 games for the Red Wings and a plus-11 rating. The Rangers played a tribute video for Staal in the first period and the fans offered warm applause … Adam Fox turned 24 Thursday. He is one of eight Rangers to have birthdays in February (Libor Hajek, Nemeth, Alexandar Georgiev, Ryan Lindgren, Kaapo Kakko, Barclay Goodrow and Jacob Trouba are the others).

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