Brandon Scanlin makes NHL debut in heat of Rangers’ playoff race

Brandon Scanlin recognizes the magnitude of the timing of his NHL debut.

As much as it is a milestone he’s been working toward his whole career, Scanlin made his first appearance in a Rangers jersey Tuesday in the club’s 11th-to-last game of the regular season while down three of its top-six defensemen.

The Rangers were still the front-runners for the Presidents’ Trophy and three points ahead of the Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division after their 6-5 overtime win over the Flyers on Tuesday night — and Scanlin jumped right into the thick of it all.

Brandon Scanlin skates with a bloody nose during his NHL debut in the Rangers’ 6-5 OT playoff-clinching win over the Flyers. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

“Obviously, there’s a little added pressure knowing that there’s a bit of a [playoff] race right now,” Scanlin told The Post before the game. “But, I mean, you come with the same mindset for every hockey game to try and win. There’s a little bit of added pressure, but I think at the same time, you just enjoy those moments and thrive in them.”

An undrafted blueliner out of the University of Nebraska-Omaha, registered one hit in 10:46 of ice time Tuesday night.

Scanlin was in the midst of a career year in his third AHL season with the Wolf Pack when he was recalled.

He’s scored eight goals with eight assists for 16 points in 57 games.

When Jacob Trouba and Ryan Lindgren went down with lower-body injuries, Zac Jones and trade-deadline acquisition Chad Ruhwedel slotted into the lineup.

After Erik Gustafsson absorbed an elbow to the head from the Panthers’ Sam Reinhart in overtime on Saturday, Scanlin was the next man up on the Rangers’ depth chart.

“I think just learning from my rookie year in Hartford and kind of adapting to the program,” Scanlin said of the steps he’s taken in his game this season. “Figuring out what I can bring to the table to make myself an effective player.”

Scanlin took reps on the left side of Ruhwedel during practice on Monday, while Jones moved up to play alongside Adam Fox. The K’Andre Miller-Braden Schneider pairing, which was first forged when Trouba went down, remained intact.

Brandon Scanlin skates during the Rangers' OT win.
Brandon Scanlin skates during the Rangers’ OT win. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

President and general manager Chris Drury extended Scanlin’s contract at two years at $775,000 per season last month. It marks his third contract with the Rangers after Scanlin signed a two-year deal with the organization in March 2022.

“It’s a special day for my family and myself,” Scanlin said. “I’m just looking forward to soaking it all in and enjoying the moment.”

Trouba and Lindgren both participated in the optional morning skate on Tuesday.

It marked the first time Trouba skated in a team setting, while Lindgren rejoined the Rangers in a red non-contact jersey during practice on Monday.

With three assists in Tuesday’s win, Artemi Panarin reached and surpassed the 100-point milestone for the first time in his NHL career.

He now sits at 102 points on the season.

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