Skip to Main Content

Rangers' Girardi won't play in Game 2 vs. Penguins

Defenseman sidelined with undisclosed injury; may be replaced by McIlrath

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

PITTSBURGH -- New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi will not play in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports) because of an undisclosed injury.

Girardi, who played 17:17 in Game 1, missed the last three games of the regular season with an upper-body injury, but coach Alain Vigneault would not divulge the nature of Girardi's injury this time.

The Rangers are already without defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who has a hand injury and is questionable to return in the series. Rookie Brady Skjei has been playing for McDonagh, who will miss his fifth straight game.

It's likely rookie Dylan McIlrath will take Girardi's spot in the lineup, but Vigneault was somewhat coy about that, too.

"If we need him to play [Saturday], I'm sure he's going to play well," Vigneault said.

McIlrath said he's ready to go. He played for Girardi in the final three regular-season games. McIlrath had an assist and played a season-high 22:57 in the 3-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings in the finale.

McIlrath had previously sat out 10 games with an injury and three as a healthy scratch before playing the final three games of the regular season. He appeared in 34 games this season.

"I'm hungry," McIlrath said. "I'm very excited. Obviously I don't know what the lineup will be, but I'm just ready if the team needs me."

McIlrath feels watching Game 1 as a spectator will help him Saturday if he plays, because he was able to get a good read on what the Penguins try to do, their strengths and maybe even their weaknesses.

"Obviously, Pittsburgh comes at you really hard and they'll make you pay with their transition game," he said. "I think it was nice to have a spectator's view for the first one and if I ever do get the call, I know I'll have a good idea of what to expect."

The Rangers likely will recall a defenseman from Hartford of the American Hockey League in order to have seven healthy defensemen available for Game 2, Vigneault said.

View More