Rick Nash will miss his first game of the season when the Rangers skate against the Colorado Avalanche this evening at the Pepsi Center. Nash's back tightened up on him during practice Thursday during a shooting drill, forcing him from the remainder of the on-ice session in Denver. He had hoped that rest and treatment would do the trick so that he would be able to play against the Avalanche, but that turned out not to be the case unfortunately.
"I think he had a good day today, and he's going to come in tonight for treatments, and he's day to day," Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault said of Nash before the game.
When asked if the injury appears to be a minor one, Vigneault quickly responded, "Yes, definitely."
Nash, who leads the Rangers with 33 shots on goal through 12 games, has registered one goal and six points so far this season after leading the team with 42 goals and 69 points a year ago. He will be replaced in the lineup Friday night by Emerson Etem, who will be appearing in only his fourth game of the season. To date Etem has recorded one assist and ten hits in three games.
Vigneault also confirmed that Etem will take Nash's spot on left wing alongside Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello.
"We'll start that way and see how it goes."
It was also announced three hours before puck drop at the Pepsi Center that rookie Dylan McIlrath will remain in the lineup and play his second straight game, and third overall this season. McIlrath logged nearly 20 minutes of ice-time in Tuesday's 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals, and posted a +1 plus/minus rating while being credited with four hits.
Veteran Dan Boyle will be the healthy scratch on defense for the second straight game and third time this season.
"He hasn't played a lot of hockey and this is his first opportunity to play (two games in a row), and we need to get a read on him," Vigneault said of McIlrath. "So Dylan will go tonight and we'll go from there."
The Rangers bench boss would not speculate as to whether or not Boyle will return to the lineup Saturday in Arizona, nor if he thought Nash would be available to play against the Coyotes.