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Rangers without defenseman Staal against Devils

New York recalls Brady Skjei from Hartford to face New Jersey

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Defenseman Marc Staal sustained a lower-body injury and will not play for the New York Rangers against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, MSG, MSG+, NHL.TV).

The injury comes at a time when the Rangers are also without defenseman Ryan McDonagh (jaw/neck).

"Staal tweaked something in his lower body so he's day-to-day right now," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said.

Staal is expected to join the Rangers on their road trip at the St. Louis Blues on Thursday and the Dallas Stars on Saturday. He will be replaced by defenseman Brady Skjei, who will play his third game for the Rangers this season, for the game against the Devils.

Skjei (6-foot-3, 215 pounds), 21, was recalled from Hartford of the American Hockey League on Tuesday. He made his NHL debut in a 4-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Dec. 15. He has three goals, 19 assists and 20 penalty minutes in 52 games for Hartford this season.

"Skjei has played really strong and has skated well with the puck [in the AHL]," Vigneault said. "He was good in his one-on-one battles and, right now, with [McDonagh] being out and now [Staal], we need more of a left-handed presence, so Brady will get another opportunity to play and it'll be real good experience."

Skjei will begin the game with Kevin Klein. Vigneault said the defense pairings of Dan Girardi and Keith Yandle, and Dan Boyle and Dylan McIlrath, will remain intact. 
"I don't think [Skjei] will go on the road trip but we'll see how this game unfolds," Vigneault said.

The Rangers did not hold a morning skate Tuesday but McDonagh skated on his own. Vigneault said he could return to the lineup as early as Thursday.

McDonagh sat out for the fifth time in seven games Sunday, a 1-0 overtime victory against the Detroit Red Wings. The Rangers are 4-0-1 without McDonagh in the lineup. He missed four games with a concussion sustained during a 3-2 shootout win at the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 6, and had to leave a 4-2 win at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 18 after Toronto forward Leo Komarov elbowed him in the head.

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