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McDonagh out indefinitely with hand injury

Rangers captain blocked shot against Columbus on Monday

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh is out indefinitely with a hand injury he sustained Monday. He missed New York's 3-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday and will not play in the final two games of the regular season either.

In addition, it's possible the Rangers will be without defenseman Dan Girardi, who sustained an injury when he got hit into the end boards by Lightning forward Brian Boyle with 1:08 remaining in the third period. Girardi needed assistance leaving off the ice.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said McDonagh's status for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is unclear. The defenseman injured his right hand blocking a shot in the first period of a 4-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Vigneault didn't have an update on Girardi following the game Tuesday other than to say he was being evaluated by the doctors but the early reports were positive. New York is not scheduled to practice Thursday.

The Rangers complete the regular season with home games against the New York Islanders on Thursday and the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. They clinched a berth in the postseason Monday; the playoffs begin April 13.

McDonagh has 34 points in 73 games and is averaging a Rangers-high 22:21 per game. Kevin Klein is second with 20:24. Girardi is averaging 20:19 of ice time per game.

McDonagh missed six games earlier this season with concussions. New York is 5-1-1 without him in the lineup.

"I know Ryan is an important player, and you guys [the media] know that, the captain of our team, but the game moves on and our job is to find ways to win," Vigneault said. "That's what we're going to try and do."

Rookie defenseman Brady Skjei, who was recalled from Hartford of the American Hockey League, played the 16:22, including 5:16 on the penalty kill, in McDonagh's place against Tampa Bay. He is expected to play against the Islanders as well.

Skjei has no points in five games with the Rangers. He leads Hartford defensemen with 28 points in 68 games.

"He's got that skating ability and puck-moving ability that permits him, in my estimation, to be able to play in this League," Vigneault said. "Is he there yet? He's going to get a couple of games to show us what he can do."

Rookie defenseman Dylan McIlrath will likely stay in the lineup if Girardi is unable to play Thursday. McIlrath played against the Lightning after sitting out the previous 13 games, including the first 10 for an injury. He got 12:31 of ice time and was a plus-2.

Dan Boyle, who sat out the game against Tampa Bay to rest, is expected to return to the lineup Thursday.

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