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Ryan Strome Expected to Play in Game 4

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

If you were able to catch the second half of game 3 you may have noticed Ryan Strome’s absence. Right after the second period began, Ondrej Palat following closely behind Strome, cross checked him from behind. While this is by definition an illegal play, in comparison to many things gone uncalled in the playoffs, it appears quite innocent.

However, it’s been a long postseason and with the warrior mentality that hockey players questionably live by, the above cross check from Palat could have aggravated something Strome has been dealing with for some time now. We only have to go back to game 2 to see him take a much nastier shot to the same area from another Tampa Bay Lightning player.

This story does end with some good news. While Ryan Strome isn’t skating today, the Rangers’ unofficial second line center will be ready for game 4 tomorrow. However as Vince does point out, take this with a grain of salt as Gallant has said many things in the past regarding injuries and timetables for a player’s return.

Although criticized by many, Strome is an integral part of the Rangers’ offense. He plays an important role on their PP and second line giving the Rangers some much needed depth to match up against some of the best teams in the league. If Strome wasn’t ready we could anticipate Rooney coming in for him and Gallant either shifting Chytil down from the kid line (which would be a monumental mistake) or having Goodrow play in the top 6 where he is way less effective.