NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 28: Ryan Reaves #75...

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 28: Ryan Reaves #75 of the New York Rangers skates against the Boston Bruins during the second period in a preseason game at Madison Square Garden on September 28, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) Credit: Getty Images/Bruce Bennett

CALGARY, Alberta — Physical forward Ryan Reaves was activated off injured reserve and returned to the lineup for the Rangers on Saturday night against the Flames. Rangers coach Gerard Gallant was happy to get him back.

"Ryan's a big part of our group,’’ Gallant said before the game. "He's a physical player and he's played really well for us when he's been healthy. So it’s huge to get him back.’’

Reaves returned against the same Flames team against which he suffered a lower-body injury at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 25. In that game, Reaves played only one shift in the first period, and at the end of it, he came up hobbled, skated off hunched over and went to the locker room. He returned to sit on the bench for the final two periods, even though he knew he could not go back in the game, because he wanted to support the team.

McKegg returned to Hartford

To make room on the 23-man roster for Reaves, C Greg McKegg was returned to AHL Hartford. McKegg originally was called up Oct. 15 when Ryan Strome was placed on the COVID-19 list after testing positive. He remained with the team after Strome returned because Kaapo Kakko went on injured reserve and Reaves then did the same.

McKegg played eight games for the Rangers. He did not score a point but became a trusted penalty-killer and played an average of 11 minutes per night.

"He played great,’’ Gallant said. "He did his job perfectly. We really liked him. But that's part of the game. You get an important player back and you’ve got to let somebody go. And he did a good job.’’

Gallant declined to detail any changes he may have been contemplating beyond Reaves in for McKegg. Igor Shesterkin, who served as the backup goaltender for Friday’s 6-5 overtime loss to the Oilers in Edmonton, was scheduled to be the starting goaltender Saturday night.

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