Shanahan skated toward the bench as Knuble came the other way. Neither player saw the other and they slammed shoulder-to-shoulder. Shanahan went flying backward and struck his head against the ice when he fell 7:27 into the third period of the Rangers’ 5-3 loss.
X-rays and a CT scan were taken on Shanahan at St. Vincent’s Hospital. All the tests were negative, but Shanahan was to be kept overnight for observation. The Rangers said he was awake, alert and moving all his extremities.
“It’s always hard to see any of your players go down whether it’s coincidental or otherwise,” Rangers coach Tom Renney said. “It’s tough, but we’re going to have to overcome that and play in the spirit of what he’s all about anyway. Hopefully he won’t be out too long.”
The right side of Knuble’s face was swollen, and general manager Paul Holmgren said Knuble fractured his cheekbone and orbital bone. Knuble is expected to have surgery in a few days, once the swelling goes down. There is no timetable for his return to the lineup.
Holmgren expressed concern after the game that broken bones would be revealed once Knuble had more tests at home.
“He seemed OK. He was a little woozy,” Holmgren said.
Knuble, second on the Flyers with 22 goals and 43 points, declined to comment as he left Madison Square Garden.
Shanahan, the Rangers’ leader with 28 goals, moved his left leg slightly as medical personnel attended to him, but his eyes remained closed. Shanahan, 38, appeared to also be bleeding from the mouth one day after extensive dental work. He lost a tooth Thursday night at Carolina after being struck in the mouth by a puck.
Shanahan blinked his eyes and was talking as the stretcher rolled across the ice to the Zamboni entrance, chants of “Shanny, Shanny,” trailed him during the ride.
The hit came moments after New York closed its deficit to 4-2 on a play in which Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr was rattled by a late hip check against the end boards by Flyers defenceman Derian Hatcher.
New York sustained several key injuries during the game that was physical from the very start.
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist left following the second period after a hard shot struck him in the left shoulder and sent him to the ice writhing in pain. New York defenceman Marek Malik also was knocked out of the game, favouring his shoulder, after absorbing a check from Flyers forward Simon Gagne.
Lundqvist and Renney said it was the coach’s decision not to send the goalie back out for the third period, more to give him rest than because of the injury. Lundqvist was hurting, but planned to be back in the nets Sunday afternoon when the Rangers face the Chicago Blackhawks.
“I could’ve kept playing for sure,” Lundqvist said, “but they told me they wanted to make a change.”