Rookie forward Oscar Lindberg will be a healthy scratch for the second time this season when the Rangers host the Boston Bruins Monday night at Madison Square Garden. Chris Kreider, who sat out the previous two games with a cut on top of his hand, will not only take Lindberg's spot in the lineup, but on the team's third line alongside Kevin Hayes and Jesper Fast.
"He's a big strong guy who brings skill and a physical element into our lineup," Hayes said of Kreider following Monday's optional morning skate at MSG.
Kreider, who was hurt in an altercation against the Florida Panthers nine days ago, has six points in his last ten games played, and enters play with six goals and 18 points on the season. He is tied for second on the team with 83 hits.
"I know this past week, even though he's had the hand injury, he spent some time on the video with Scott (Arniel, Rangers associate coach) to look at some things," offered head coach Alain Vigneault. "He just needs to keep his game simple. If he can do that, he use his attributes, use his strength, he's a solid player. We need him to play good for us."
The 23 year-old Lindberg snapped a 12-game goal-scoring drought by burying his 11th of the season Saturday afternoon in the Rangers 4-3 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals. His only other scratch this season came on December 18 in Winnipeg.
Center - NYR
Goals: 11 | Assists: 8 | Pts: 19
Shots: 71 | +/-: 9
"Our fourth line is getting a little bit of chemistry, and Hayes has had two good games his last two outings, and we've got a left-winger (Kreider) coming in, so Oscar has played well, but we're going to get Kreids in there instead," explained Vigneault.
Lindberg is still among the top rookie performers in the NHL this season.His 19 points tie him for sixth most among league rookies, while his 11 goals are also sixth most. Keeping with the theme, Lindberg owns a +6 plus/minus rating, which is sixth best of all NHL rookies.