On a day in which the Rangers had two players return, they have lost one for an indeterminate period of time.
Following the Rangers early skate Wednesday morning at the Garden in preparation for the nationally televised showdown against the Flyers, head coach Alain Vigneault said Chris Kreider would miss the game with what’s believed to be a broken hand.
Vigneault did not offer a timetable for Kreider’s return, other to say the left wing will not accompany the team on its upcoming Western Canadian trip. J.T. Miller was called up from AHL Hartford prior to the morning skate and dressed against the Flyers.
“Give me a couple days here to figure out a course of action,” Vigneault said. “J.T.’s going to play tonight. [We’re] still in the process of sorting out the other things here. I’ll have an idea tonight.”
The news of Kreider’s injury was initially reported Tuesday night by TSN’s Bob McKenzie on Twitter, who added the left wing would be out a month. The Rangers subsequently announced on their account Kreider would not play against the Flyers, but did not elaborate if he would miss further action.
Vigneault said Kreider’s injury occurred in Friday’s 3-1 win over the Blue Jackets in Columbus. Kreider did play in the wins over the Devils and Coyotes.
If Kreider misses a significant period of time with the injury, the Rangers will not have their second-leading goal scorer. Kreider has 17 goals in 66 games this season, as he has been a net-front presence at even strength and on the power play where he has scored six times.
“On each line we like having one guy go to the net a little bit more but each guy [on the team] has to go [to the net],” Vigneault said. “That’s where you score goals. Where did Brad Richards score his goal [against the Coyotes]? He’s in front of the net and he tipped it. That’s where you got to go. It’s not easy. It’s tough. If you go in that area, usually you’re going to be hacked and whacked. But if you want to score and you want to score on a consistent basis and you want to get some points, that’s where you [have] to go.”
Martin St. Louis replaced Kreider on the top line with Derek Stepan and Rick Nash. Stepan and St. Louis said they felt a marked improvement from Monday when both had the flu but still played in the 4-3 overtime win over the Coyotes.
After the game, Vigneault admitted he “shouldn’t have played Step and Marty. I should have taken that out of their hands.”
Defenseman John Moore participated in the morning skate, but was not in the lineup Wednesday as he recuperates from post-concussion symptoms developed following a hit in the win over Columbus.
“I felt good,” Moore said. “[I] didn’t really push too hard, but it felt good to be out there. [I] felt a little rusty which is understandable considering [I] had four or five days off. You’re going to feel that way.”
Moore added he had “no idea” when he would return to the lineup.
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.