Igor Shesterkin participated fully in the morning skate for the first time since he sustained a suspected groin injury early in the third period of the Dec. 3 match against the Sharks. Shesterkin, who has missed eight games, shared a net with Friday’s backup Keith Kinkaid while Alexandar Georgiev had the starter’s net to his own. 

With only the Dec. 22 game against the Red Wings on the schedule before the NHL’s Dec. 24-26 holiday recess, Gallant indicated the schedule and break could influence the decision about when Shesterkin might be reactivated. 

“Igor is a star goalie, he played unbelievable hockey and we want him back as soon as he’s ready,” the coach said before the Rangers’ 3-2 shootout loss to the Golden Knights at the Garden. “He skated pretty well today and took all the shots, but we’re definitely going to be cautious. 

Igor Shesterkin was a pull participant in the Rangers’ morning skate for the first time since his injury.
Jason Szenes

“The Christmas break is coming up, we only have one game, we have four [more] days off, so we’re trying to be smart about it.” 

Filip Chytil was reinstated after sitting out Wednesday’s 3-2 victory in Arizona as a healthy scratch but did not slide back into the middle, where he had played in all of his previous 25 games this season. 

Filip Chytil has been reinstated to the Rangers’ lineup as a winger, not a center, amid Artemi Panarin’s injury.
NHLI via Getty Images

Rather, Chytil skated on the wing in filling the hole left by Artemi Panarin, sidelined for Friday’s defeat with the undefined lower-body injury sustained in Arizona and whose status remains the generic “day-to-day.” 

Chytil opened on the left of the third line with Barclay Goodrow in the middle and Julien Gauthier on the right, but shifted to right wing late in the first period, playing the remainder of the match on that side of the unit with Ryan Strome and Alexis Lafreniere. 

Chytil had two shots in 15:16 of ice time, nearly winning it with a dash to the net in the final minute of overtime. 

“It’s not a knock against him playing center,” Gallant, who has chosen to keep specifics about the scratch between himself and Chytil, said before the game. “He’s a big, rangy guy who can make plays.” 

Chytil played on the wing in 56 of his 75 games in 2018-19 for former head coach David Quinn. The Czech played on the wing only twice the following season and then six times last year, all between Kevin Rooney and Gauthier. 

The 22-year-old had recorded seven points (3-4) in 25 games — points in only five of them — before taking a seat on Wednesday for his first healthy scratch since March 1, 2019. 

Nils Lundkvist, who missed the past three games with a non-COVID related illness, participated in the morning skate but did not play. Hence, Libor Hajek dressed for his fourth straight game while paired with Patrik Nemeth. 

Mika Zibanejad had seven shots on eight attempts while scoring his third goal at five-on-five for the season and first in 19 games since Nov. 5. Zibanejad was 15-4 at the dots, but was beaten by Brett Howden on the faceoff that led to Vegas’ tying goal at 14:44 of the third. 

Howden, who had 49 points (16 goals, 33 assists) in 178 games over three seasons for the Rangers before being sent to the Golden Knights in July for a fourth-rounder and Nick DeSimone, scored Vegas’ first goal.

Source: NYPOST

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