Ryan Lindgren injury another test to first-place Rangers’ resilience


The Rangers’ stranglehold on first place in the Metropolitan Division now will really be put to the test amid the loss of another one of their top defensemen.

Ryan Lindgren is projected to be sidelined a few weeks with a lower-body injury, according to a source, after the heart-and-soul Ranger crashed into the boards and fell awkwardly in the second period of the Blueshirts’ win over the Islanders on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

This is the second blow to the Rangers’ blue line in the span of 10 days. Rangers president and general manager Chris Drury announced after the trade deadline on March 8 that captain Jacob Trouba would miss two to three weeks to recover from a lower-body injury.

Ryan Lindgren will miss a few weeks in the latest Rangers’ injury worry. Robert Sabo for NY Post

Now, with only four weeks left in their regular-season schedule, the Rangers will have to continue preparing for the playoffs amid another depth test and another new addition to the lineup.

Regarding injuries, the Rangers have been like every other NHL team this season. Regarding their resolve, the Rangers have set themselves apart.

Tuesday is the Rangers’ 148th consecutive day in first place in the Metropolitan Division, a franchise record.

The Blueshirts, who get to celebrate the achievement with a matchup against the Jets at the Garden, have managed to win five of their last six under strenuous circumstances.

They’ve done it without their captain, while integrating two new faces — in Alex Wennberg and Jack Roslovic — and through one of the toughest schedules.

Alexis Lafreniere and Erik Gustafsson help Ryan Lindgren off the ice. Robert Sabo for NY Post

Trouba is only a little over a week into his recovery timeline, which leaves the Rangers without two of their top four defensemen and two of their most physical players for a minimum of another week now that Lindgren is also sidelined.

Deadline-acquisition Chad Ruhwedel will surely slot in on Tuesday versus Winnipeg.

With Connor Mackey unavailable due to an upper-body injury, which has him classified as week-to-week, the Rangers recalled Brandon Scanlin from AHL Hartford to serve as the extra defenseman.

At least Matt Rempe is eligible to return to the lineup, after the 6-foot-8 ½ forward served a four-game suspension for a high-elbowed hit on the Devils’ Jonas Siegenthaler.

Ten regulars have missed time due to injury. Four different players have landed on injured reserve. Therehave been two season-ending injuries to members of the top-six.

There was a point in time where both goalies, Igor Shesterkin and Jonathan Quick, were unavailable and third-stringer Louis Domingue got a game — which he won, by the way.

Chad Ruhwedel will finally make his Rangers debut after being acquired at the trade deadline. NHLI via Getty Images

As well as a few other players with one- to two-game absences for other reasons like minor injuries, illness and personal reasons.

Heck, five players have had to wear full face shields for various face/mouth injuries — most recently Mika Zibanejad, who is back to his No. 1 center ways on the offensive side of the puck.

And yet, the Rangers have come out on the other side of all of it. Battered and bruised, but still among the top teams in the NHL.

They look like one of the deepest clubs in the league right now.

And it has them competing for the Presidents’ Trophy, a feat the organization hasn’t achieved since the 2014-15 season.

Lindgren, who missed 17 of the final 23 games of last regular season with a shoulder injury, should soak up every bit of this recovery period. His ‘D’ partner, Adam Fox, should get a breather, too, considering the fact that he leads all Rangers skaters in average ice time at 23:13.

There are just 14 games left until the playoffs and it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Peter Laviolette approaches the concept of resting his players — especially since he has a tendency to ride his top horses.

While this time of the season is about developing chemistry, the Trouba injury has allowed for some experimentation with the D pairings.

As a result, Braden Schneider and K’Andre Miller have forged a young-and-effective duo over the last few games.

The loss of Lindgren presents the same opportunity, which will give the Rangers fallback plans in case of a significant injury to the back end during the playoffs.

Ruhwedel was acquired from the Penguins in exchange for a 2027 fourth-round pick for that very reason.

A righty-shot, the 33-year-old blueliner may force some more rearranging amongst the D pairs.

This is nothing the team hasn’t survived already this season. The Rangers hope to be better for it in the long run.


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