The New York Rangers announced that Dan Girardi, Marc Staal and Ryan McDonagh were all fighting injuries in the Eastern Conference final. Girardi and McDonagh were injured in Game 4 against the Lightning, and Staal had been dealing with an ankle fracture all post-season.
For the final three games of the post-season, the New York Rangers defense corps was a battered and bruised bunch.
News came Monday that each of Dan Girardi, Marc Staal and Ryan McDonagh were suffering through different injuries that had them hobbled in the latter stages of the post-season. While you won’t find anyone in the Rangers dressing room using the injuries as an excuse, it’s difficult for a club to win when half of the club’s defensemen are fighting through ailments.
According to the Rangers, Girardi suffered a Grade 1 MCL sprain in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final, Staal had been dealing with a hairline fracture in his ankle since the regular season, and McDonagh was attempting to play through a fracture in his right foot suffered in Game 4.
For McDonagh, at least, it was obvious that something was amiss when in the first period of Game 7 he took only three shifts and skated a mere 1:47. Over the next two frames, McDonagh played nearly 16 minutes, no doubt fighting through some excruciating pain. In the playoffs, the Rangers’ captain had skated more than 23:30 minutes per game, so losing his services for roughly six minutes of action in a crucial Game 7 certainly hurt New York’s chances.
As for Girardi, two of his lowest ice times came in Games 5 (16:29) and 7 (18:33). Over the course of the post-season, he had averaged more than 21:30 per game, but it’s clear the injury hindered his ability to log the big minutes he likely would have had he been healthy.
Staal was the only one of the bunch who, despite injury, played a similar amount of minutes in the playoffs to what he had during the regular season. However, he did play the least minutes of the post-season in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final when he skated little more than 15 minutes in the Rangers’ 2-0 to the Lightning. It was evident something was ailing Staal going into the playoffs, however, as he missed the final two games of New York’s season with an undisclosed injury. Come Game 1 of the Rangers’ first-round series against the Penguins, Staal was in the lineup.
No timetables for full recovery have been announced for the Rangers blueliners, but there’s little doubt they will all make full recoveries.