With a playoff spot and home-ice advantage in the first round now officially secured, the most important thing for the New York Rangers in their remaining few regular-season games is to stay healthy.
Alas, that is proving to be easier said than done. With Tyler Motte already out long-term, and Kaapo Kakko looking to recover from a lower-body injury before the end of the regular season, two more regulars sustained injuries in Thursday night’s 6-3 win over the New York Islanders: Filip Chytil, and trade-deadline sensation Andrew Copp.
Thankfully, the injuries do not seem to be overly serious, as the Rangers have characterized both players as day-to-day, with Gallant (however unreliable his injury assessments might be) saying that both should be ready for the playoffs.
Today’s #NYR practice is optional. Here are the injury updates from the team:— Vince Z. Mercogliano (@vzmercogliano) April 22, 2022
- Copp (lower body) is day to day
- Chytil (upper body) is day to day
- Kakko (lower body) skated on his own today
GG says that Copp and Chyti are out for tomorrow in Boston, but should be ready for the playoffs #NYR— Vince Z. Mercogliano (@vzmercogliano) April 22, 2022
In his postgame press conference on Thursday night, Gallant said Chytil was “a little sore” from a cross-check. Gallant’s initial word on Copp — who scored a natural hat trick in the first period against the Islanders — was that his early departure from the game in the third period was not injury related. Then, however, the Rangers said that Copp had sustained a lower-body injury, and that Gallant had not spoken with trainers when he incorrectly said there was no injury. So it’s been a bit of a roller-coaster for Rangers fans trying to get a handle on the prognosis, but the indications at this point are that neither Copp’s injury, nor Chytil’s, should be a long-term issue.
For what it’s worth, Copp completed his final shift with about five and a half minutes remaining in Thursday’s game. Nothing in particular stood out, but he did appear to be skating somewhat gingerly to the bench.
Copp's last shift. #NYR #NHL Reaves jumped off fast cause he was just on with Laffy,Goodrow (Cause Chytil missed his shift) and scored. Copp jump on for him and then Goodrow took his shift and some confusion afterwards. He's fine. pic.twitter.com/iHlIWhND2i— David (@DaveyUpper) April 22, 2022
In any event, let’s hope Copp and Chytil, as well as Kakko, are back healthy soon so that the Rangers can be reasonably close to full strength for their playoff run. In light of these injuries, the Rangers should consider resting some of their players across the final four regular-season games — even if that hinders their chances of finishing in first place in the Metropolitan Division, as that likely would not give them much of a leg up in the playoffs against a competitive Eastern Conference.