As if digging themselves out of a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 hole was already hard enough on this injury plagued Rangers team, news out of the locker room this morning concerning Anton Stralman suggests New York will be down yet another key member of their depleted defensive roster.
While not completely ruled out by Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella just yet, Stralman who was removed midway through the second period of Game 3 after taking a hard hit into the boards by Bruins forward Milan Lucic, is not expected to suit up tonight in this win or go home Game 4 at The Garden. Averaging almost 20 minutes a night and routinely being paired with Ryan McDonagh or Michael Del Zotto, Stralman, an unsung hero is this years playoff run for the Rangers has quietly stepped up his game this postseason and his importance to this New York team can’t be understated.
In an interview with Newsday’s Arthur Staple, Tortorella said, “Losing [Stralman] is a big blow to us. He puts himself in a situation there where he’s playing in an area to try and make a play and gets hurt. He’s done that really through the playoffs here. To a defense that I think is lacking a little depth right now, it hurts us.”
With no indication star defenseman Marc Staal will return this series after taking a puck to the eye more than 2 months ago, the Rangers will have to turn to former Boston College star Matt Gilroy or 39-year old, 1992 #1 draft pick Roman Hamerlick as the Blueshirts 6th man on D. Now that Brad Richards has been relegated to the Rangers 4th line and with Rick Nash and the rest of the offensive unit having been largely ineffective against Boston, New York will once again have to rely on the sensational play of Henrick Lundqvist in net if they have any chance to pushing this series to 5 games.
Makes you wonder….Where would this Rangers team be without King Lundquvist backing them up all season?
Tags: Anton Stralman Boston Bruins Brad Richards Daniel Paille FanSided Henrik Lundqvist John Tortorella Marc Staal Michael Del Zotto Milan Lucic New York Rangers NHL NHL Playoffs Rick Nash Ryan McDonagh Si.com Sports Illustrated