Jesper Fast skated just one shift in Game 1 against the Carolina Hurricanes before he was knocked out of the game by a massive hit delivered by former New York Ranger Brady Skjei. No penalty was called on the play. Shortly after receiving the hit, Fast was seen leaving the Rangers bench to head to the locker room. Per the MSG broadcast, he is not expected to return to the game.
Brady Skjei gets the playoffs started with a huge hit on his former teammate Jesper Fast pic.twitter.com/wTbSR0dyvZ— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) August 1, 2020
The Fast injury was a byproduct of an exceptionally physical start to Game 1 which culminated with a surprising fight between Ryan Strome and Justin Williams after Carolina took a 1-0 lead 61 seconds into the first period. Here’s another angle of Skjei’s hit on Fast.
Here is the hit that Rangers have taken exception to on Jesper Fast. Fast off to the locker room. Some head contact here, hard to tell without another angle pic.twitter.com/BZsXsiMnci— NHL Player Safety Watch (@NHLSafetyWatch) August 1, 2020
This injury could be big trouble for the Rangers. With Brendan Lemieux out of the lineup for the first two games of the series with a suspension, the Rangers’ forward depth, which was already found wanting heading into the Play-In Series, is already stretched thin. Fast’s presence will be missed both on the Artemiy Panarin line at even strength and on the penalty kill.
We’ll keep you posted if there are any developments — but this is the playoffs. So, we should not be surprised if his status and condition are kept vague before Game 2.